5 Tips to Reduce Risks of Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is on the rise and is a very serious condition. It’s responsible for nearly 10,000 deaths per year in the U.S. alone. Skin cancer is especially prevalent in women over the age of 39–even more so than breast cancer. It’s no secret that sun and skin cancer go hand in hand–limiting to exposure to the sun’s harmful rays will help prevent the risk of skin cancer. There are other measures you can take as well.

1) Shade
Stay in the shade when possible. And don’t forget about the possibility of reflected sun. Even if you’re under an umbrella, concrete or other surfaces can reflect the sun up onto you from underneath. Remember the sunscreen when you’re skiing too! If you’re determined to get the glow of a tan, use a self tanner. Spray tans can look natural and last a long time if you’re dead set on looking tan. Don’t fry your skin by lying out by the pool or on the beach. It damages your skin in so many ways. Avoid sun between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. This is when the rays are the strongest and the most damage can be done.

2) Healthy Diet
In addition to limiting your sun exposure, eating certain foods may help reduce your risk of skin cancer. A diet that’s high in antioxidant substances is thought to protect against cellular damage caused by the sun’s ultraviolet radiation. This can reduce the risk of skin cancer.
So which foods are rich in antioxidants? Below is a list of some of the powerful antioxidants and foods that are good sources. Foods containing antioxidants including polyphenols, carotenoids and other bioactive substances may decrease the risk for melanoma.

  • Lutein in collard greens, spinach, and kale
  • Beta-carotene in carrots, spinach, and sweet potatoes
  • Lycopene in tomatoes and watermelon
  • Selenium in Brazil nuts
  • Vitamin A in carrots, sweet potatoes and egg yolks.
  • Vitamin C in most fruits and berries (especially citrus fruit), fish
  • Vitamin E in almonds and other nuts; safflower oil

Your diet can affect your risk of skin cancer due to the “antiangiogenic” properties of foods. Antiangiogenesis substances can starve cancer cells, preventing them from growing and becoming dangerous. Certain foods–those containing antioxidants, like omega-3 fatty acid-rich fish— contain these antiangiogenic substances.
Some antioxidants are found in beverages. For example, polyphenol antioxidants are found in green tea. They inhibit the proteins necessary for skin cancer to develop. They may also prevent cancer development by limiting blood vessel growth around tumors. The catechins and resveratrol found in wine possibly prevent tumors, partially because of their antioxidant properties. They may prevent growth of cancer cells.
3) Sunscreen
Sunscreen is a must–it goes without saying. Use a full spectrum sunscreen with a SPF of 30, applied liberally and reapplied every two hours, even when it’s overcast. Full spectrum sunscreen will protect you against both UVA and UVB rays. UV rays can penetrate clouds and glass, and even sheer and light-colored clothing.

Here’s how sun damage takes place: the UV rays damage skin cells. These damaged cells release oxygen molecules that are called free radicals. Free radicals can change your DNA, and then your skin cells can turn cancerous and replicate themselves. But antioxidants can neutralize those free radicals. This is how antioxidants prevent or slow the growth of skin cancer.

4) Don’t smoke
Behaviors that cause other types of cancer can play a part in the occurrence of skin cancer. Smoking creates carcinogens in your body, creating cancer cells–similar to the ones that are produced by the harmful rays of the sun.

5) Cover Up
Wear a hat and protective clothing when you’re out in the sun. A floppy hat with a 3-inch brim will be the perfect style to shield your face from the rays. Put on sunglasses and protective lip balm with an SPF too. Just like skin, the sun can damage your eyes.

Follow doctors’ advice to avoid cancer. These 5 tips are important ways to decrease your risk. Avoid the sun, always use sunscreen, and try to eat a diet rich in antioxidants to help reduce your risk of skin cancer. These are easy steps to take to prevent a life-threatening disease.

by Derek