Preventing Melanoma

You can easily prevent some of the environmental risk factors that cause melanoma 1. These strategies can prevent or significantly reduce your risk of developing melanoma

Sun Protection

Excessive exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a significant risk factor for developing melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers 2. UV radiation exposure happens in one of two ways ⎯ naturally through sun exposure 3 or artificial means, like tanning beds. Thus, reducing your exposure to UV ways is a simple method for preventing melanoma. These are some ways you can protect yourself from solar or artificial rays. 

Limit Your Exposure to the Sun

One of the easiest ways to prevent skin cancer is to limit your time in the sun. You can do that by seeking shade when you’re outdoors, especially when sun rays are the strongest.

Wear Sunscreen

You are likely aware that sunscreen prevents wrinkles and hyperpigmentation. However, did you also know that sunscreen protects against cell damage, prevents sunburning, and reduces your risk of melanoma and other non-melanoma skin cancers? 

Sunscreen 4 contains chemicals and physical compounds that block UV radiation. The chemicals in sunscreen absorb high-intensity UV radiation. Additionally, the physical filters in sunscreen reflect UV radiation away from your skin. Sunscreen also contains a sun protection factor or SPF. SPF refers to the amount of protection the sunscreen offers against sunburning. 

Who Needs Sunscreen?

Everyone! The general recommendation is sunscreen for people six months and older to regularly use sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.

Avoid Tanning

Tanning beds expose you to artificial UV radiation. Tanning beds also produce carcinogens, which cause cancer in tissue. The radiation from tanning beds causes 450,000 new cases of skin cancer, with 10,000 being melanoma. Therefore, limiting or avoiding tanning beds altogether is one way of preventing melanoma.

Wear Sunglasses

Did you know that sun exposure contributes to skin and eye diseases? Excessive exposure to sun rays is associated with eye conditions like cataracts and macular degeneration (a disease that causes vision loss). Exposure to UV radiation can also cause melanomas in the iris (the colored part of your eye) and conjunctiva (the barrier that lines the inside of your eyelids). Thus, wearing sunglasses is a way for you to protect your eyes from harmful rays 5

Wear Protective Clothing

You can also protect your body from UV radiation exposure by wearing protective clothing. For instance, long-sleeve shirts, long pants, and a wide-brimmed hat protect your otherwise exposed body parts from harmful sun rays.

Early Detection

Melanoma can be fatal if diagnosed in advanced or later stages. Thus, early detection helps save lives, and your healthcare provider can diagnose and treat cancerous tumors before cancer spreads to other parts of the body. Additionally, earlier stages of cancer are treatable. Early detection involves biopsies of skin lesions and skin evaluations.