Effective prevention begins with questions and from there can lead to education and then awareness. Being aware of how your daily habits affect your health is the key to making changes. UV Skinz was founded to bring awareness to the dangers of un-protected sun exposure and to also help people make sun-safe habits a part of their daily life by providing functional uv-protective clothing for the whole family.
The biggest goal is to prevent skin cancer or melanoma. It can be hard to relate to either of those unless you, a friend or a loved one has been directly affected through a scare or diagnosis.
You may have questions–so we’ve answered a few!
1. What is skin cancer?
The scientific definition of skin cancer is a malignant neoplasm of the skin which means uncontrolled growth of abnormal skin cells. This abnormal growth becomes a problem when the unpaired DNA damage to skin cells trigger genetic defects or mutations that eventually lead to the skin cells forming malignant tumors. DNA damage to skin cells can occur from over exposure to UVA and UVB rays received from sunbathing, unprotected sun exposure and tanning bed use.
2. What does skin cancer look like?
All skin cancers are NOT created equal. They look different on everyone, but there are some guidelines you can use to decipher between normal and abnormal skin lesions. A good rule of thumb is if you are concerned about a new mole or growth or an old one that is changing–get checked by a Dermatologist. Below are the ABCDE’s of skin cancer that you can use to help you during your skin self-checks:
A is for asymmetry. Suspicious moles will not be even if you were to draw an invisible line down the middle of it.
B is for border. A mole with blurry or spotty edges is cause for concern.
C is for color. Moles should be all the same color and never change. If yours does then have it evaluated by a doctor.
D is for diameter. If it is larger than a pencil eraser it needs to be examined. Even if it normal in asymmetry, border and color.
E is for elevation which means the mole is raised above the surface or has an uneven surface.
3. Can you die from skin cancer?
Pre-cancerous skin cancers such as basal and squamous cell cancers are less likely to lead to death if caught early. Melanoma if recognized and treated early, is almost always curable, but if it is not, the cancer can advance and spread to other parts of the body, where it becomes hard to treat and can be fatal. It is safe to say that all cancer can be fatal, but with the early detection, the right treatment and a healthy lifestyle it can be overcome.
4. Can only fair-skinned, blonde-haired, blue-eyed people get skin cancer?
Definitely not! Skin cancer and melanoma cancers do not discriminate based on skin, hair or eye color. Although, people with fair skin, hair and eye colors are more likely to develop the disease because of their lack of melanin and increased sensitivity to UVA and UVB rays. The risk of developing melanoma is rather low for African Americans, Asians, and Latinos, however this type of skin cancer is typically more deadly for these groups. You should know that ALL people are at risk of developing skin cancer, regardless of ethnicity.
5. How do I protect myself and my family from developing skin cancer or melanoma?
The best way to protect yourself and your family from skin cancer or melanoma is to practice sun safe habits every day of the year. To be mindful that even if it’s cold or cloudy outside that UV rays still penetrate through cloud cover. Also, you should be aware that children need to be taught to be sun safe and one way to do this is to lead by example. We know that we can’t put on our full sun protection armor for every life event, but you can keep in mind some simple ways to protect your skin from sun damage.
- Wear a SPF 30 broad-spectrum sunscreen that fits your needs. Apply paying close attention to delicate areas of your body; face, neck, ears and tops of shoulders.
- Seek the shade!
- Avoid prolonged sun exposure during the peak hours of the day between 10am-4pm when the sun is the strongest. If you must be outside during those times remember to…
- Re-apply your sunscreen according to the directions on your sunscreen label (more if you are in and out of the water or are very fair-skinned).
- Wear UPF 50+ sun protective clothing.
- Wear a wide-brimmed hat.
- Don’t forget your sunglasses!
What other questions do you have about skin cancer or melanoma? Leave a comment down below or on our Facebook page. We would love to hear from you!