Skin Cancer Prevention

Skin Cancer Prevention

How is Skin Cancer Prevented?

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the U.S. More skin cancer is diagnosed each year than all other cancers combined. Skin cancer occurs when abnormal cells in the skin grow uncontrollably and form a malignant tumor. While there are multiple types of skin cancer, the most common are basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell skin cancer, and melanoma, in that order. The good news is that skin cancer is highly preventable.

The primary cause of skin cancer is exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or artificial sources like tanning beds. Protecting yourself from excessive UV exposure is vital for prevention. Depending on the fairness of your skin and the UV index, UV rays from the sun can damage your skin after just a few minutes of exposure—and that damage is what may later develop into skin cancer.

There are many simple ways you can protect your skin and prevent skin cancer:

  • Avoid direct sunlight when UV rays are strongest, typically between 10 am and 4 pm
  • Seek shade
  • Use broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher
  • Wear protective clothing
  • Wear a hat and sunglasses

As for UV rays from artificial sources, avoid indoor tanning devices, such as tanning beds and sunlamps, altogether. Tanning devices emit harmful UV radiation that can be even more intense than the sun. The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified tanning devices as a Group 1 carcinogen, meaning they are known to cause cancer in humans.

Prevention measures like those noted above are the best way to reduce your risk of skin cancer.