Every year we look forward to warmth and sunshine. During summer holidays we try to spend a lot of time outside, enjoying the warm rays of the sun. No doubt, sunlight is essential for our life, since the sun is a source of health, energy and high spirits. It really makes us happy and elevates mood. The sunlight improves our sleep and strengthens the immune system. As it is known, sun exposure is the most natural way to get vitamin D, which is essential for maintaining healthy bones and teeth. However, in addition to beneficial effects, the sun can be harmful. Spending too much time in the sun can increase the risk of skin cancer, including melanoma.
What is melanoma?
Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer. It starts in the skin's pigment cells known as melanocytes. What's the first symptom of melanoma? Melanoma may develop anywhere on the skin, as a new spot or a change in an existing mole. The mole can change in size, shape or colour. In its advanced form, melanoma can cause the death of a patient. At the same time, it is effectively treated at an early stage. Nowadays, there are dfferent techniques for melanoma diagnosis. For instance, the new method recently developed by Lithuanian scientists can reach 90% accuracy in detecting the disease.
What are risk factors for melanoma?
There is evidence of the role of sun exposure in the development of skin cancer. It is known that malignant melanoma is more common in people with pale complexions, blue eyes and blond hair. Living closer to the equator also increases the risk of disease. Besides, it's a fact that a large number of moles is the most significant risk factor. Using a tanning bed before age 30 increases the risk of skin cancer by 75% as well. Melanoma may be also caused by genetic and hereditary factors. In addition, the risk of disease is higher for people who have been diagnosed with non-melanoma skin cancer or solar keratosis.
Can melanoma be prevented?
In the United States, more than 106,110 Americans are expected to be diagnosed with melanoma in 2021. And it goes without saying the best way to prevent melanoma is to protect your skin from the sun.
To help prevent melanoma, you are recommended to take the following steps:
- Limit time in the sun. Ultraviolet rays are most intense from 10 am. to 4 pm.
- Wear hats and protective clothing.
- Choose the right sunglasses. They should give your eyes full UV protection.
- Do not use tanning devices.
- Wear sunscreen.
- Protect children's skin from UV exposure.
- Consult a doctor if you accidentally damage a mole.
Taking these steps will definitely help you reduce the risk of cancer. We all know that prevention is always better than cure. However, if you noticed any skin changes and are worried, it's recommended to visit a doctor.
Do you want to see an oncologist or dermatologist in Kyiv, Ukraine? Contact UA destination team to get health screening tests for women or men or book an oncologist appointment in Kyiv, Ukraine.