The Dangerous Side Of Chronic Sun Exposure
The Importance Of Sun Protection
Protecting your skin during the day, especially during the summer and in between cosmetic laser treatment programs, is of utmost importance in incorporating preventative measures towards skin cancer. Practicing sun safety is the number one thing that people can adapt into their daily lifestyle to avoid the dangerous side of chronic sun exposure.
Skin Cancer-Related Issues Are Preventable
Types Of Skin Cancer
Most people are aware of the harmful effects that chronic sun exposure can have on the skin. Skin cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in North America, and it affects millions of people worldwide. Skin cancer is treatable with the appropriate medical attention during the cancer’s early stages of development. People can perform diligent skin assessments of new growth on their body to catch it early on. Most skin cancer-related issues are preventable with a simple habit like wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 everyday on any areas of the body that are exposed to direct sun exposure.
Skin cancer develops on skin that has been over-exposed to UV radiation for many years. Without sufficient protection from harmful UVA and UVB radiation, the skin is affected negatively by chronic exposure to the sun or to artificial tanning beds. There are 3 types of skin cancer:
Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)
Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer and the most common of all cancers, according to the Canadian Skin Cancer Foundation. The main cause of basal cell carcinoma is UVB radiation on the normally sun-exposed areas of the body like the face, ears, head, shoulders, and back, but they can develop on other areas on the body as well. Basal cell carcinoma initially develops as an aggressive sore on the skin that does not heal, leading into an open lesion that bleeds and crusts on the skin for a few weeks. Sores are often accompanied by inflammation to the area, itching, and pain. The appearance of the nodules can range from a shiny clear bump to a raised bump that is very dark, leading people to misdiagnose the new growth as a mole.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC)
Squamous cell carcinoma cultivates in the heavily exposed areas of the body, displaying visible signs of sun damage like wrinkles, skin laxity, pigmentation, and sun spots. People may have a hard time identifying SCC growths because of their similar qualities to the way that sun-damaged skin appears. Signs of concerns of the lesions caused by UV radiation are typically accompanied with a persistent growth that bleeds, crusts, and is irregularly shaped with irregular borders that fail to heal for weeks.
Melanoma develops in stages. Depending on the level of progression, it can rapidly spread to other areas of the body. Melanoma presents itself as a new brown or black flat lesion that changes shape or colour on the epidermal layers of the skin (very top layer) to eventually developing ulcerations. Melanoma can spread with the dermis to nearby lymph nodes and other internal organs. Melanoma is not as common as other types of skin cancer.
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