Skin cancer can occur even without regular exposure to the sun

Health Care, Heart Care Foundation of India Comments Off

Understand the ABCDE rule to spot warning signs

New Delhi,29 July 2018: Sunless tanning or fake tanning products like sprays, ointments, creams, foams, or lotions that promise tan skin without increased risk of skin cancer do not actually help prevent cancer, as per recent research. Adults who used sunless tanning products were more likely to use indoor tanning beds and were less likely to wear protective clothing or seek shade when outdoors.

Skin cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in the world. The incidence is about 70% more in Indian men than women. The condition occurs when there is unchecked growth of unnatural skin cells or tissues. The causes range from genetic factors to exposure to ultraviolet radiation.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “One of the deadliest forms of skin cancer is melanoma. This develops in melanocytes or the pigment cells present in the skin. It can be more serious than the other forms of skin cancer because of a tendency to spread to other parts of the body (metastasize) and cause serious illness and death. One can use the ABCDE rule to spot signs of melanoma: A symmetry – one part of a mole or birthmark doesn’t match the other; B order – edges are irregular, ragged, notched, or blurred; Color – this is not the same all over and may include shades of brown or black, sometimes with patches of pink, red, white, or blue; Diameter – spot is larger than ¼ inch across – about the size of a pencil eraser; Evolving – mole is changing in size, shape, or color.”

Some other common symptoms include: skin changes; a skin sore that fails to heal; a spot or sore that becomes painful, itchy, or tender, or which bleeds; a spot or lump that looks shiny, waxy, smooth, or pale; a firm red lump that bleeds or appears ulcerated or crusty; and a flat, red spot that is rough, dry, or scaly.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “Having less pigment (melanin) in your skin means you have less protection from damaging UV radiation. If you have blond or red hair, light-colored eyes, and freckle or sunburn easily, you’re more likely to develop melanoma than is someone with a darker complexion. But melanoma can develop in people with darker complexions, including Hispanics and blacks. People with weakened immune systems have an increased risk of skin cancer. This includes people who have HIV/AIDS and those who have undergone organ transplants.”

Some tips from HCFI

- Avoid the sun during the middle of the day. Schedule outdoor activities for other times of the day, even in winter or when the sky is cloudy. Clouds offer little protection from damaging rays. Avoiding the sun at its strongest helps you avoid the sunburns and suntans that cause skin damage and increase your risk of developing skin cancer.
- Wear sunscreen year-round. Sunscreens don’t filter out all harmful UV radiation, especially the radiation that can lead to melanoma, but they do give overall sun protection. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15.
- Wear protective clothing. Cover your skin with dark, tightly woven clothing that covers your arms and legs and a broad-brimmed hat, which provides more protection than a baseball cap or visor does.
- Opt for sunglasses that block both types of UV radiation — UVA and UVB rays.
- Avoid tanning beds. Tanning beds emit UV rays and can increase your risk of skin cancer.
- Become familiar with your skin so you’ll notice changes. Examine your skin regularly for new skin growths or changes in existing moles, freckles, bumps and birthmarks.