Stopping Cancer Before it Starts: Melanoma Protection

The word “cancer” can instill fear in the hearts of patients who hear it. That is why the medical profession is so hard at work to alert people to the ways to prevent and screen for cancer, to make them easier to treat and raise the survival rates overall. This strategy has worked, since deaths from many types of cancer seem to be on the decline. One cancer that can become quite serious if left unchecked is skin cancer melanoma. In the early stages of this disease, the survival rate can be as high as 99%. However, in the later stages, when the cancer has spread to other parts of the body, the survival rate can drop below 20%. It is because of this that early screening for skin cancer has become so important and why melanoma prevention is being preached throughout the medical community. By practicing the steps in melanoma prevention, you can do much to reduce your chances of ever being diagnosed with this illness.

Sun Exposure

You know you’ve heard it before, probably more times than you would care to count; don’t go out in the sun unprotected. The reason that this has become a mantra with health professionals is that protecting your skin from the harmful UV rays of the sun is paramount to melanoma prevention. This means that you should wear sunscreen every single day of the year – even when the clouds are out, since UV rays can get past the clouds to damage your skin. It also means wearing a hat with a wide brim when you are going to be outdoors for long periods of time, and protecting your skin under the lightweight, light-colored fabrics of summer clothing. Keep in mind that those dangerous rays can be reflected off of snow and water, so sunscreen becomes even more important when you are around these elements if you want to practice melanoma prevention.

Tanning Booths

Some people have foregone the sun to indulge in the sun-kissed glow from a tanning salon. Studies have shown that the rays that are used in the tanning booths are just as dangerous as those that come from the sky. You are not exercising melanoma prevention when you visit these salons; in fact, you are reducing your risk of skin cancer by quite a bit by using these booths. As much as many of us relish that glow in the warm weather months, the risks that go along with toasting our bodies are simply not worth it. Stay out of the sun and away from the harmful effects of tanning booths and you are doing a good job with your melanoma prevention efforts. This is especially true if you are fair-skinned, since lighter complexions seem to be more vulnerable to skin cancer. However, no matter what your skin tone, you would be wise to use care in melanoma prevention practices.

If you follow these steps to melanoma prevention, and get into your doctor for annual skin cancer screenings, you will be doing plenty to keep your skin safe and healthy.

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