Bad Habits That Lead to Skin Cancer, Says Doctor
New cases of skin cancer in 2022 number in the millions. Skin cancer is the number 1 type of cancer in the US. There are many different types of skin cancer. The most common are basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas, then melanoma. In 2022 it is expected that about 7,650 people are expected to die of melanoma. About 2,000 people in the US die each year from basal and squamous cell skin cancers.
These types of skin cancer are usually curable if caught early. However, they can be deadly if left untreated.
Bad habits increase your risk of developing skin cancer. Read on to find out more—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.
Spending Time in the Sun Without Sunscreen
The best way to prevent skin cancer is to avoid exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. UV radiation is the main cause of skin cancer.
Using Tanning Beds or Sunlamps
Indoor tanning is particularly dangerous because it exposes you to high levels of UV radiation. Just one indoor tanning session can increase your risk of developing melanoma by 20 percent.
Not Wearing Enough Clothing to Protect Your Skin From the Sun's Rays
Wear clothing that covers your arms and legs, and a hat with a wide brim to shade your face, neck, and ears.
Being Careless About Using Sunscreen
Using a broad-spectrum sunscreen is advisable, on with an SPF of 30 or higher. Every 2 hours put a liberal amount of sunscreen on, more often if you're sweating or swimming.
Being in the Sun Between the Peak Hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The sun's rays are strongest during these hours, so it's best to stay in the shade during this time.
A bad sunburn can increase your risk of developing skin cancer. Childhood sunburns are particularly dangerous because they can lead to melanoma later in life.
Not Checking Your Skin Regularly
If you don't check your skin regularly, you're more likely to miss early signs of skin cancer. Be sure to perform a self-exam at least once a month. If you have any moles or other changes in your skin, make an appointment to see a dermatologist right away.
Continuing to Smoke
Smoking cigarettes increases your risk of skin cancer since it weakens your immune system and damages the DNA in your skin cells. If you smoke, quitting is one of the best things you can do for your skin — and your health.
Having a Family History of Skin Cancer
If you have a parent or sibling who's had skin cancer, you're at an increased risk for the disease. This is not a bad habit! It just the way it is. This is why it's so important to perform regular self-exams and see a dermatologist regularly for screenings.
Being Exposed to Certain Chemicals
Some chemicals, such as arsenic and coal tar, can increase your risk of developing skin cancer.
These bad habits put you at an increased risk of developing skin cancer. However, there are things you can do to reduce your risk. Be sure to wear sunscreen, stay out of the sun during peak hours, and check your skin regularly for changes. If you have a family history of skin cancer, be sure to see a dermatologist regularly for screenings. And if you smoke, quitting is one of the best things you can do for your skin — and your health! And to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.
Gethin Williams MD Ph.D. is the Medical Director of Imaging & Interventional Specialists
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