Getting diagnosed with skin cancer can be a frightening experience. If it happens to you, be calmed by the fact that it can be defeated, if detected and treated early enough.
In part I of this two-part series of articles, we found out what skin cancer is and what causes it. Now we are ready to talk about how to tell if you have it, what to do to prevent it from happpening to you, and what to do to eradicated it if you get it.
Symptoms of Skin Cancer
How do you know whether you have a skin cancer, or if that blemish is just another innocuous mole? Many people have a skin cancer, and don’t think anything about it. They just ignore it, and hope that it goes away before the revealing clothing of summer makes it visible to everybody else.
If you get a sore that doesn’t heal – it just keeps getting bigger – and it bleeds a lot – it is probably a skin cancer. Or if you have lots of bumpy blemishes scattered over a certain part of your body – they might be an infestation of skin cancers.
Eradication of Skin Cancers
If you have either of these symptoms, don’t put it off – see a doctor immediately! What will the doctor do to get rid of your cancer?
- He may zap it, using a hyfrecator. This apparatus uses electrosurgery to destroy the cancerous tissue directly. It can easily penetrate the surface of the skin, and attack the cancerous tissue below.
- Or he may freeze it, using liquid nitrogen to kill the cancer.
- The doctor could alternatively ask you to apply an ointment twice daily for about 2 weeks. 5-fluorouracil is applied directly on the surface of the skin, and it can’t penetrate too far, so this method can only be used for superficial skin cancers.
Prevention of Skin Cancer
OK. So you don’t have skin cancer yet. What measures can you take to lessen its likelihood? The following ten tips are a useful guide:
- Avoid exposure to the sun during peak hours, from 10AM to 4PM.
- Don’t use tanning beds.
- Wear sunscreen every day, even if it’s couldy.
- Use a sunscreen that blocks BOTH UVB and UVA rays.
- Use a sunscreen with an SPF greater than 30. ( SPF 15 blocks 93% of harmful ultraviolet radiation; SPF 50 blocks 99%. )
- Use at least 1 oz of sunscreen ( Most people use only half of that. )
- apply sunscreen at least 30 min prior to exposure, to allow the ingredients to fully bind to the skin – and reapply every 2 hours.
- Wear protective clothing – a wide brimmed hat; wrap-around sunglasses.
- Test your fabric: If you can see through it when holding it up to a light source, then ultraviolet radiation can get through it! ( For example, a white t-shirt provides protection equivalent to a sunscreen with SPF 7; a thick denim shirt ~ SPF 1700. )
- Know your family history – If a close relative has had melanoma, you are 50% more likely to contract it. So do a self-examination or get checked regularly by a doctor