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Melanoma Skin Cancer : Why Sun and Tanning Can Kill You

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Skin cancer is one of the most common case of cancer. While non-melanoma is not that life threatening, Melanoma typed skin cancer can be fatal. In this article, Solmeglas will give some introduction to skin cancer and how you can avoid getting one this summer!

It can be said that this year summer has been hellish. With extreme temperatures recorded in many parts of the world, 2018 is predicted to be the 4th hottest year in record)1. In fact, another heatwave is predicted to hit Spain and Portugal soon . This summer, 70 peoples have died due to the heatwave in Canada, more then 90 people in Japan (and 57,000 people has been injured), and 65 people in Pakistan2.

With this year continuous heatwave, protecting yourself from sun exposure are crucial to ensure that you 1.) Survive this summer alive and 2.) No diagnosed with skin cancer later in your life. So, what exactly are the causes of skin cancer? How deadly skin cancer is? How can we protect ourselves from skin cancer?

Melanoma and Non-melanoma Skin Cancer : What Are They?

In the world of skin cancer, you might come across the word ‘Melanoma’ multiple times. Skin cancer can be categorized into non-melanoma and melanoma. Basal Cell Carcinoma and Sequamous Cell Carcinoma are non-melanoma skin cancer and the more common. They are less life threatening because they rarely metathesized (i.e. the cancer won’t likely to spread) and can be removed by surgical procedure. On the other hand, melanoma is far more dangerous because it does metathesized3. In Australia alone, about 1,500 people each year died from melanoma4.

The main cause of skin cancer, melanoma or non-melanoma, is sunburn by the UV radiation. The UV radiation (both UVA and UVB) emitted by the sun is carcinogenic and damages our DNA by causing mutation. Asides from UV radiation, artificial tanning machine like solarium can also cause skin cancer. Sadly for tan lovers, tanning bed produced a richer UVA light compared to UVA in sunlight5.

How Do I know That I Have Skin Cancer?

According to Cancer Council Australia6, you might have skin cancer if you have these symptoms:

  • Spot or sores that are crusty, itchy and non-healing
  • Small lumps that are red, pale or pearly in colour
  • New spots, freckles or any moles changing in colour, thickness or shape over a period of weeks to months.

For all cancer disease, early detection is the key to ensure complete recovery. Many studies are ongoing to develop effective methods for early accurate detection for skin cancer. Recently, scientist from Australia has developed the first blood test for skin cancer, aiming to detect melanoma before it’s spread to other parts of the body4.

What Should We Do Then?

 

We understand the joy of relaxing and basking ourselves in the sun during summer. However, better safe than sorry, it is better to avoid than treating skin cancer. Wearing sufficient sun protection, such as hats, sunglasses and long sleeves clothes is essential. However, wearing sunscreen is the most important. Sunscreen with SPF30+ is recommended and has to be applied every 2-3 hours (and more frequent if you are prone to sunburn).

We hope you enjoy the rest of the summer and stay healthy!

Reference

  1. https://edition.cnn.com/2018/07/28/us/2018-global-heat-record-4th-wxc/index.html
  2. https://www.vox.com/2018/7/18/17561266/summer-2018-heat-wave-japan-texas-weather-health
  3. Ghayourmanesh, SP 2013, ‘Skin cancer’, Magill’S Medical Guide (Online Edition), Research Starters, EBSCOhost, viewed 6 August 2018.
  4. https://www.sbs.com.au/news/early-stage-melanoma-blood-test-on-the-way)
  5. B. Buckel, A. M. Goldstein, M. C. Fraser, B. Rogers and M. A. Tucker, Recent tanning bed use: a risk factor for melanoma, Arch. Dermatol., 2006, 142, 485–488
  6. https://www.cancer.org.au/about-cancer/types-of-cancer/skin-cancer.html#jump_2

 

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