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Skin Cancer - a Reminder

We need to get alerted: skin cancer is the most popular cancer. Every year, more than 1,000,000 skin cancer cases are diagnosed and tens of thousands of skin cancer patients die in the U.S. alone. The number of skin cancer exceeds that of all other cancers combined. Among more than 1 million of skin cancer cases, 100,000 are melanoma, the deadliest skin cancer and there is no cure for it.

The skin cancer risk is more serious to the children because they are young and more susceptible, and they expose to more sunlight than adults due to their extensive outdoor activities. Half of the total life time exposure for an individual is received during his childhood. So special care is needed for the children.

Usually, skin cancers come years later after the subjects get exposed to too much sunlight. So just because you do not see a skin cancer right away does not mean you are free of skin cancer risk. So careful protection is the key.

The government health officials are working hard to alert people of the skin cancer risk. They try to have schools to take measures to protect students against excessive exposure to the ultraviolet light.

Both ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B can cause skin cancer, which means some ultraviolet light once thought safe can be dangerous. In the summer, it's advised that people avoid sunlight from 10 a.m through 4 p.m. when the sunlight is strongest and you are likely to get sunburn. Sunburn can be defined as a condition that your skin receives so much sunlight radiation that a skin color change is noticeable. Rules of thumb to avoid sunburn is, if your shadow is shorter than you are, then the sunlight is too strong and you can get sunburn. If you have to go outdoor, wear something protective such as clothes and big wide-trimmed hat to shield as much sunlight as possible. In the hottest day, the sunlight can burn your skin in a couple of minutes or less. Statistics indicated that people get one or more blister caused by sunlight will have 2 or 3 times higher risk of getting skin cancer than the general population. Both occasional heavy exposure and mild chronic exposure can cause skin cancer.

Also keep in mind that ultraviolet rays exist not just in the summer, or hot days only. In the spring or even winter, you do not feel the heat when exposed to the sunlight, but the ultraviolet rays are there. You can still get sunburn in such cool days. So do not take the sunlight lightly. Other than the sunlight, sun lumps and tanning facility that emit ultraviolet rays can also pose a serious risk of skin cancer.

John Roberts is a freelancer for foodconsumer.com - an online magazine that promotes healthy diets.


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Dr. John Roberts