Did you know that the skin is the body’s biggest organ? How well do you know the particularities of your skin?
We often take skin for granted, but it is an amazing organ that protects our body. Unfortunately, more and more people suffer from skin cancer, particularly in Australia – therefore, it is vital that you know how to protect your skin from skin cancer.
A lot of people are aware if their skin is whiter than others’, or that their skin gets an even tan if they stay in the sun, without reddening or becoming dry. But there are very few those who are aware of their moles, those who keep an eye on their skin lumps… and these are the most important features that can indicate skin cancer.
Here are our 5 easy ways to protect yourself from skin cancer:
1. Know the main types of skin cancer
The most dangerous type of skin cancer is melanoma, a type of cancer that affects the melanocytes (these produce melanin, a substance that defines the color of the skin).
It is known that the rates of melanoma are higher in regions such as Oceania, North America, Europe, Southern Africa and Latin America. In other words, it affects Caucasians living in sunny climates – this includes Australians too!
b) SCC skin cancer
SCC or Squamos Cell Carcinoma is a type of cancer of the skin that appears as a small lump. the lump grows quickly and it soon becomes tender and red.
c) BCC skin cancer
BCC, or Basal Cell Carcinoma is a type of cancer that affects the moles on your skin. Most often it is a skin spot which bleeds for no reason.
The bleeding occurs every once in a while (for example, once a week or once a month) with no obvious reason – the area may look like a harmless infection, but you should contact your doctor as soon as possible.
2. Check your skin regularly – pay attention to all signs
A lot of people check their skin regularly… during the summer season.
Nonetheless, it is advised that you perform regular skin checks at least once every three months. Stay in front of a mirror and look at your skin: on your legs, arms, breasts, underarms, abdomen. Ask someone to look at your back.
By doing this on a regular basis you will learn your skin particularities and it will become easier for you to notice any changes, especially skin cancer.
3. The most common place for skin cancer in men and women
It has been noticed that men tend to develop melanoma on their back, while women have melanoma on their legs. So make sure to double check these regions of your skin and look for skin spots, rashes, etc.
Skin cancer – especially melanoma – can occur on every part of the body that has melanocytes or that produces melanin. Skin is not the only organ that has melanin; other organs include the eye and the bowel.
4. Use sun protection cream – even during winter
During the winter season our skin is luckier because we wear warm clothes that cover most of our body. But the UV rays are present even during the cold seasons, therefore it is important to use sun protection cream even during the cold season.
In Australia, the temptation to soak up the sun’s warm rays without protection is Apply the SPF cream on your face (use a SPF lip balm for your lips), ears, neck, bosom and other body parts that are exposed to UV rays. Use a cream with 30 SPF.
5. Know that you can still develop skin cancer during the winter season
When it comes to skin cancer, it is not the winter season to be blamed, but the “aftermath” of the exposure you get during summer. It often takes months, even years for skin damage to develop into skin cancer.
While during the summer season you are more likely to notice skin irregularities, make sure that you also check your skin during winter. Because your body is mostly covered in clothes, you are less likely to see the suspicious moles.