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10 Skin Cancer Myths And Facts You Probably Didn't Know

The difference in climate, atmosphere and surroundings during the hot summer months can have a major impact on your skin. When most of the skin is exposed to the sun's rays, it can lead to skin cancer. Skin cancer occurs when there is an abnormal growth of the skin cells. Here, you will come to know about the skin cancer myths and facts.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, there are three most common types of skin cancer like basal cell cancer, melanoma, and squamous cell skin carcinoma.

skin cancer myths and facts

Basal cell cancer is a type of skin cancer that begins in the basal cells. Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer. And squamous cell skin carcinoma is a form of skin cancer that develops in the cells of the outer layer of the skin.

When it comes to skin cancer, there are many misconceptions and people are unaware of its dangers. Let's have a look at the common skin cancer myths.

1. Myth: Skin Cancers Aren't Deadly

Fact: Unfortunately, skin cancer can be deadly. According to the American Cancer Society, people lose their life to melanoma. Also, other types of skin cancer can be deadly too, so it should be taken very seriously. It's always a good idea to examine your skin regularly and to protect your skin whenever you are in the sun.

2. Myth: Putting On Sunscreen Is Enough To Protect Your Skin

Fact: Sunscreen is a method that you can use to help protect your skin. But, you shouldn't count on sunscreen alone. No sunscreen is 100 percent effective at blocking the UV rays, and if sunscreen is used incorrectly, it may not provide as much protection as you think. You should apply a palm full of sunscreen to cover your arms, legs, and face, and reapply often, especially if you are sweating or swimming. Choose a sunscreen labelled 'broad spectrum' with SPF 30 or more.

3. Myth: A Base Tan Will Protect You

Fact: Many people believe that a base tan will protect their skin from burning, a recent survey from the American Academy of Dermatology found the same. When the skin comes in contact with the harmful UV rays, it produces more melanin, or pigment. As a result, your skin becomes darker. The increased pigment is the body's way of trying to defend itself. So, the more your skin is tanned, the more damage your skin has already sustained from the sun's rays.

4. Myth: Skin Cancer Occurs On Parts Of the Body That Are Exposed To The Sun

Fact: Though it is true that you are more likely to get skin cancer on parts of your skin that get a lot of sun exposure, like your arms, shoulders, or face, skin cancer can happen on any part of the body, which includes the genitals, palms of your hands, soles of your feet, between your fingers or toes and underneath your nails. And skin cancer developing in these places can be deadly.

5. Myth: Skin Cancer Risk Is Lower Because Your Routine Doesn't Include Any Outdoor Activities

Fact: Dermatologists say that brief sun exposures throughout the year can add up to significant damage for people with fair skin. These brief sun exposures include driving a bicycle, and outdoor shopping. These everyday sun exposures are linked to squamous cell cancer. Squamous cell cancer is believed to cause up to 20 percent of skin cancer deaths.

6. Myth: Dark-skinned People Aren't At A Risk For Sun Damage & Skin Cancer

Fact: Dark-skinned people have a much lower risk of skin cancer than fair-toned people; however, this does not make them immune to skin cancer. The causes of skin cancer in dark-skinned people are often not detected until the later stages, when it is more dangerous.

7. Myth: A Suspicious Mole Can Be Cut Off Before It Turns Cancerous

Fact: An annoying sore that won't go away or a mole that has changed in size or colour is really something serious, and possibly an early form of skin cancer. An annual skin cancer screening is necessary to identify cancer in its early stages, also a visit to the dermatologist is a must.

8. Myth: You Don't Need To Wear Sunscreen On A Cloudy Day

Fact: This is a common myth that sunscreen isn't necessary when you are outdoors on a cloudy day. But, this is simply not the case. Even on cloudy days, it is possible for the sun to harm your skin and eyes and cause a long-term damage. So, it is rather important to protect your skin with a sunscreen on cloudy days.

9. Myth: Skin Cancer Only Affects Older Adults

Fact: Melanoma is the most common form of skin cancer in young adults, aged 25 to 29. This skin cancer is increasing in women aged 15 to 29 than in men of the same age group. Ensure that you check your skin monthly and pay special attention to the moles, especially when they bleed or itch.

10. Myth: A Treatment In Cancer Means You Needn't Worry About Skin Cancer

Fact: Treatment for one type of cancer doesn't make you immune to other cancers. Certain cancer treatments, such as radiation can actually increase your sensitivity to the UV rays. Speak to your doctor about how to take a special care of your skin because of these cancer treatments.

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ALSO READ: 12 Tips For Staying Hydrated In Summer

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    Read more about: skin cancer cancer myths
    Story first published: Wednesday, May 2, 2018, 14:00 [IST]
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