Skin cancer: Know ways to prevent it

By Salome Phelamei | Updated: Apr 22, 2014, 16:24 PM IST

Zee Media Bureau/Salome Phelamei

Skin cancer is a cancer that begins in the skin. One of the most common of all cancers, skin cancer affects people of all colours and races. However, those with lighter skin are more prone to it. It is said that skin cancer affects more than two million Americans each year.

Most skin cancers are preventable, but can result in disfigurement and even death when allowed to progress and not diagnosed, treated early.

Below are a few tips to help prevent skin cancer:

  • Avoid tanning beds as lights used in tanning beds emit ultraviolet rays and can increase skin cancer risk.

  • Apply sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher (both UVA and UVB protection) generously on all exposed skin. Apply 15 minutes before going out and reapply every two hours.

  • Wear protective clothing that covers your arms and legs as sunscreens don't give complete protection from UV rays.

  • Wear a hat with broad brim that covers your face, ears and neck.

  • Wear sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays.

  • Stay in the shade and avoid midday hours between 10 am and 4 pm as the sun's rays are strongest during these hours.

  • Using a mirror, carefully check all of your skin once a month. Any changes in existing moles, freckles or spots should be reported to your doctor for treatment.