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Health

You Can Take Steps to Avoid Skin Cancer

Do you know what the most common form of cancer is in the United States?  If you answered, "skin cancer", you'd be correct. Approximately one million Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer each year.  That is an incredible amount!  But if caught early, skin cancer can be curable.

What is skin cancer?

Skin cancer occurs when the outer skin cells grow abnormally.  

What types of skin cancer are there?

There are three types of skin cancer.  The two most common forms are squamous cell and basal cell carcinomas.  The third type, melanoma, is less common but far more deadly.   

How can I avoid skin cancer?


Protect your skin


To protect against skin cancer, avoid exposure to ultra-violet rays.  Make sure you use a sunscreen with any of the following ingredients listed in the top two positions in the ingredient list:  

Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide, or Parcal 1789.  

After I learned this information, I checked my own sunscreen.  It was SPH 50 and a well-known brand, so I felt confident.  I thought, "With an SPH of 50, of course it's going to protect my skin." Boy, was I WRONG!  None of the ingredients I just listed were included in my sunscreen.

I rushed to the store to find a sunscreen that included these most important ingredients but what I found (or did not find) shocked me.  

Among all the common brands out there, not one had listed Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide, or Parcal 1789 among the ingredients.  I'll be honest: it was hard to find but I eventually found a sunscreen that included the correct ingredients. 

A bonus was that it was far less expensive than what I'd been paying for a sunscreen that was never protecting me against the harmful UV rays to begin with.  Don't think you have to pay a  fortune for a good quality sunscreen!

Limit your time in the sun during peak times

The hours between 10am and 2pm are when the damaging rays are at their peak.  If you must be out during this time, wear your sunscreen and protective clothing like long-sleeved shirts, a brimmed hat, and sunglasses.  Tanning beds and  sunlamps are damaging, so stay out of them too!

What foods can help to discourage skin cancer?

What you eat can have an impact on the development of cancer.  To reduce your overall risk of developing skin cancer,  focus on getting in plenty of the following foods:

Soy

Tofu, miso, soybeans, tempeh, and soy milk contain phytochemicals that help to fight cancer.

Whole Grains


Cereal, breads, whole oats, wheat, and rice that contains folic acid and selenium all help to fight off cancer. (Brazil nuts also contain selenium, which help to ward off skin cancer).

Fruits and Vegetables

Broccoli, kale, peas, celery, red peppers, tomatoes, onions, beans, brussel sprouts, carrots, cabbage, cauliflower, winter  squash, and sweet potatoes are all great veggie choices.  Citrus fruits, red grapefruit, cantaloupe, and strawberries are all examples of fruits that not only taste great, but also help to fight skin cancer.

Fish

Fish contains the valuable omega-3 fatty acids.  Oily, cold-water fish (like salmon and tuna) are rich in not only omega-3's, but also selenium.

Flaxseed Oil

This is another fantastic source of omega-3 fatty acids.

What about supplements?


Supplements are a great way to enhance your diet if you would like to give your diet a boost.  Selenium, Vitamin E, Fish oil capsules, and ECGC (epigallocatechin-gallate) all help to fight skin cancer and can be a wonderful addition to  your diet.

Are there any other steps I can take?

It's important to check your skin often for signs of skin cancer.  Look for any irregularities that might show themselves in moles with irregular edges, color, or are longer that 6mm.  I highly recommend visiting a dermatologist once a year for a skin and mole check to ensure you're safe from developing skin cancer.

With a few lifestyle changes, you can protect yourself against skin cancer and minimize its harmful effect on your health. Take a little time each day to make sure you're protecting yourself...you're worth it!


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Nothing on this site is a recommendation as to how to treat any particular disease or health-related condition. You should not use this site as a substitute for professional medical advice. For serious ailments, or if symptoms persist, you must see a medical
professional. You should not stop taking prescribed medication without consulting your doctor.

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