Skin cancer: the only type of cancer that you can prevent | Photo: Shutterstock

Skin cancer is the only type of cancer that you can prevent.

So, changes in shape, size, and color should trigger immediate action. If it happens, get a check-up as soon as possible.

There are three types of skin cancer:

  1. Basal cell carcinoma (BCC);
  2. Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC);
  3. Melanoma;

Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer because it spreads deep into the skin beyond what you can see.

It's up to you to avoid it, and early detection is the best prevention.

Remember: there is no such thing as a healthy or safe tan. Tanning is not healthy - tanned skin is damaged skin.

Sunscreen: one of the best ways of preventing skin cancer | Photo: Shutterstock

Defend Your Skin

Use reef-safe sunscreens, appropriate clothing, and stay in the shade to protect yourself from the sun's harmful ultraviolet (UVA and UVB) rays.

These three simple measures will drastically reduce your skin cancer risk factors.

So, please remember this: avoid excessive exposure to the sun during the worst hours, i.e., between 10 am and 4 pm.

Enjoy the day outdoors when it's safe. The early morning sun and the late evening sun are considered harmless to your skin cells.

Here are some unsettling facts about skin cancer:

  1. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, three people die each hour from skin cancer in the United States;
  2. Excessive exposure to the sun is responsible for 90 percent of all skin cancer cases;
  3. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer and accounts for more than 50 percent of all other malignant tumors;
  4. One bad burn in childhood doubles the risk for melanoma later in life;
  5. Over 4 million cases of basal cell carcinoma (BCC) are diagnosed in the United States every year - 3,000 people die of it;
  6. Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is diagnosed in more than 1 million Americans each year - 15,000 people die of it;
  7. Melanoma accounts for nearly 92,000 new cases of skin cancer - 8,000 people die of it;

Melanoma: the deadliest form of skin cancer | Photo: Creative Commons

  1. The US States with higher skin cancer rates are Washington, Oregon, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Iowa, Kentucky, Delaware, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Vermont;
  2. All types of skin and races can be affected by skin cancer;
  3. The fairer your skin, the higher your chance of getting skin cancer, and vice-versa;
  4. In fact, Caucasians are 20 times more likely to be diagnosed with skin cancer than African Americans;
  5. An African American with melanoma has a five-year survival rate of 69 percent, while a Caucasian has 94 percent;
  6. One in three Caucasians will develop skin cancer throughout their lives;
  7. Melanoma is less common yet more deadly in African Americans, Asians, and Latinos when compared to Caucasians;
  8. In Australia, one in three people has skin cancer;
  9. In the United States, one in five people develops the disease;
  10. The total yearly cost of skin cancer treatment in the United States is $8 billion ($5 billion for nonmelanoma cases and $3 billion for melanoma);

Sunburn: the easiest way to develop skin cancer | Photo: Creative Commons

  1. In the United Kingdom, the number of people developing melanoma is four times higher than in the 1980s;
  2. More people die in the UK of melanoma than in Australia;
  3. Men are diagnosed with skin cancer more often than women;
  4. Until they're 49, women have a higher risk of developing melanoma than men;
  5. After the age of 50, however, men are more likely to develop melanoma than women;
  6. Men are more likely to develop skin cancer on the head, shoulders, and upper body; women may get skin cancer on their lower legs;
  7. A woman who uses a sunbed - just once - before the age of 35 nearly doubles the risk of getting a melanoma;
  8. The treatment of skin cancers developed due to tanning bed use carries a financial burden of $340 million per year in the United States;

Did you get a sunburn after a day at the beach? Here's how to heal and treat skin inflammation caused by UV rays.

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