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6 Simple Ways to Prevent Skin Cancer

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Curious fact: Did you know that snow reflects up to 90% of UV radiation?

The average adult’s skin is 2 meters long, weighs 5 kg and has several functions: 

  • It protects us against bacteria and viruses around us
  • It regulates our temperature
  • It keeps us hydrated.
  • It helps us to perceive the outside world.

 

Therefore, the skin deserves to be taken care of as we would take care of any other organ, such as our heart, or our lungs. However, although it is definitely the body that has the most contact with the outside world, we often fail to give it the importance it deserves.


When we don’t have the care we need, we can expose our skin to diseases, such as skin cancer, which is the most common type of cancer in the United States, where about 1 in 5 people will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. This serious disease can affect any age, so it is recommended to carry out preventive measures and check-ups with dermatologists regardless of your age.

Most common diseases

Among the most common diseases or conditions that can affect your skin are the following: 

  • Skin cancer: Skin cancer is a type of cancer that results after an uncontrolled growth of abnormal skin cells after their DNA is damaged.  
  • Vitiligo: A disease in which the skin loses pigment in certain areas. 
  • Acne: It manifests through pimples and affects 80% of people.
  • Psoriasis: Causes redness, irritation and dryness of the skin. 
  • Atopic dermatitis: Also known as eczema, it is a very common allergy that causes dryness, red, swollen and thick skin.

Risk factors for skin cancer

Like any other type of cancer, there are risk factors that make us more likely to get skin cancer. Its main cause is excessive exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays, which can damage DNA inside skin cells. 

Similarly, another risk factor is having white skin, which has less melanin (a pigment that we produce naturally and that gives color to our skin, eyes, and hair), because it acts as a protector for the skin. The darker your skin, the more melanin you have, however, this doesn’t mean you’re free of skin cancer if your skin is darker; we all need to take preventive measures.

On the other hand, people who have had long-term exposure to radiation are more likely to develop skin cancer, so many people who have had radiation therapy as a treatment for another type of cancer may also develop skin cancer. 

Having a weakened immune system is very risky, which makes people especially vulnerable, for example, those who have had organ transplants, or people with HIV, have an increased risk of skin cancer. 

Finally, another of the many causes that could be behind a skin cancer diagnosis is having a family history, as it could be inherited from generation to generation.

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Prevention

  1. Avoid exposure to ultraviolet rays.
  2. Develop the habit of using sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) greater than 30 daily, even on cloudy days or with little sunshine. It’s  best to use sunscreen with 50 SPF. 
  3. Wear clothes and hats or caps that cover and protect you from the sun
  4. Avoid direct sunlight and try to always stay in the shade. 
  5. Increase care when you are surrounded by surfaces that reflect UV rays, such as water, cement, sand, and snow. Did you know that in snowy locations you could receive about two times more UV rays than anywhere else? 
  6. Avoid tanning beds at all costs. Despite being a popular practice in the United States, tanning beds expose the user to excessive levels of UV rays, which could result in, in addition to skin cancer, cataracts or eye cancer. Instead, use tanning lotions or sprays, but remember to continue with your regular skin care.

When to go to a doctor

Ideally, you should check all of your skin at least once a year and have regular visits with your dermatologist, as it’s important to remember that most types of skin cancer do not have symptoms, and can occur at any age.

Special care is recommended with children, who may not be aware of the risks of skin cancer and may not recognize the risk factors. 

It is important that you know your skin from head to toe, this way you will be able to notice abnormalities in your skin and you will be able to seek appropriate treatment if you need it. You should also see your dermatologist if you have skin discomfort, such as swelling or burning, which could be a sign of melanoma, a type of cancer that originates from moles.

Characteristics of carcenogenic moles

You probably have moles, but did you know that your moles can result in melanoma? Many people don’t know that something as harmless and common as a mole could become so dangerous, so we’ll teach you the ABCDE rule to identify signs of possible melanoma skin cancer: 

  • A stands for Asymmetry: If the halves of your mole are not equal, it could be a warning sign.
  • B stands for Borders: Make sure your moles have regular and well-defined edges. 
  • C stands for Color: See your dermatologist if their color is not uniform or has shades of blue, red, white, or pink. 
  • D stands for Diameter: Check constantly that your moles do not have a diameter greater than 6 millimeters. 
  • E stands for Evolution: Keep an eye on your moles, to be able to observe if there is any change in color, size, or shape. 

Likewise, you should watch out for ulcers that don’t heal and bleeding on the surface of your moles. Visit your dermatologist if you notice any changes in your skin and moles.

 

Treatment

The recommended treatment for the patient is usually decided based on the stage of the patient’s cancer, the efficacy that each treatment may have, the age and health status of the patient, and the patient’s posture regarding the treatments and their possible side effects. It is recommended to discuss with an oncologist to make the best decision about the treatment to be applied. Some of the most common treatments for skin cancer include:

  • Surgery: It is one of the most common treatments, in which melanoma is surgically removed. 
  • Chemotherapy: Medical lotion that is applied for several weeks. 
  • Radiation therapy: Treatment that uses high-energy x-rays. Skin cancer is treated with electron radiation, directly attacking cancer cells. 
  • Targeted therapy drugs: Medicine that targets directly at melanoma-type cancer cells is used.  
  • Immunotherapy: The use of medicine to strengthen the patient’s immune system so that it can recognize and fight cancer cells effectively.

Recomendations for coping with a cancer diagnosis

  • Keep channels of communication open with close friends and family to avoid feeling isolated. Having a good support network with the people around you can help in these difficult times.
  • Anticipate possible physical changes. Talk to your doctor about physical changes you may face to deal with them in advance and be prepared for your treatments.
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle. By choosing a healthy diet that includes a variety of foods and getting enough rest, your body will have enough energy to cope with the cancer and stress that often comes with it. 
  • Review your goals and priorities. It is important to remember the things that are important in your life, so that you can realize the things that have a greater meaning to you.
  • Try to maintain your usual lifestyle. However, you should be willing to change it if necessary.
  • Consider how the diagnosis will impact your finances. Make sure you have a plan to play for the expenses that will arise with the illness.
  • Develop your own coping strategy. Just like cancer treatment, the coping strategy is personalized for each person. Some recommendations for creating your coping strategy include:
    • Practice relaxation techniques
    • Share your feelings with your family
    • Have a personal diary
    • Have some time for yourself
    • Get involved in your job and recreational activities. 
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Post-treatment care

Once cancer treatment is over, it is important that the patient maintains a healthy and varied diet that provides enough nutrients for the body to function properly. It is also important to get enough rest and do physical activity, which will make the patient feel energetic during the day. Finally, it is important to work on the emotional health of the patient, because a disease like cancer can lead to many types of emotions. Seeking psychological help can be beneficial for managing emotional well-being, as it can sometimes be hard to deal with negative emotions.

How do I benefit from having health insurance if I have skin cancer?

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer, due to the continuous exposure we have to the ultraviolet rays emitted by the sun; in addition, it is one of the most expensive diseases due to the high costs of the treatments used to cure it.

This is why having a Health Insurance with Critical Illness Coverage, like the one offered by Blanca Your Best Solution, will help you pay your bills which will allow you to focus 100% on recovering from the disease and will eliminate the frustration that may come with the economic impact that this condition can cause you.

In addition, having the support of an insurance agent and advisor during this process can help avoid the stress of finding money to pay bills for the patient, who will then be able to focus on recovering. #CallBlanca Now! bit.ly/CallBlancaWA , she will help you find the best option for you in case of any everyday or catastrophic event.

Tell us in the comments, how often do you go to the dermatologist?  How often do you check your skin? Do you know someone who has had skin cancer?

 

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