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Six ways to reduce your risk of basal cell carcinoma

by , 25 November 2013

Last week, Actor Hugh Jackman revealed that he was diagnosed and later treated for basal cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer. The news has certainly cast the spotlight on basal cell carcinoma. Read on to find out what you can do to reduce your risk…

Basal cell carcinoma or basal cell skin cancer is a slow-growing form of skin cancer, says medical site, Medline Plus.

While basal cell skin cancer is most common in people over age 40, it may occur in younger people, too. The medical site says that you’re more likely to get basal cell skin cancer if you have:
  • Light-colored or freckled skin
  • Blue, green, or grey eyes
  • Blond or red hair
  • Over exposure to x-rays or other forms of radiation
  • Many moles
  • Close relatives who have or had skin cancer
  • Many severe sunburns early in life
  • Long-term daily sun exposure

What makes basal cell skin cancer dangerous is that it grows slowly and is usually painless. What’s worse is that it may not look that different from your normal skin.

These are the warning signs of signs of basal cell carcinoma.

The best thing you can do for yourself is to reduce your risk of basal cell skin cancer.

How do you do this?

Use these six safety measures to lower your risk of basal cell carcinoma

The Mayo Clinic says you may reduce your risk of basal cell carcinoma if you:

#1: Avoid the midday sun

Avoid the sun when its rays are the strongest. For most places, this is between about 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Since the sun’s rays are strongest during this period, try to schedule your outdoor activities for other times of the day, even in winter.

Remember, you absorb UV radiation year-round and clouds offer little protection from damaging rays.

#2: Use sunscreen year-round

Choose a sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB types of radiation from the sun and has an SPF of at least 15. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more.

Apply sunscreen generously and reapply every two hours or more often if you’re swimming or perspiring.

#3: Wear protective clothing

Sunscreens don’t provide complete protection from UV rays, so wear tightly woven clothing that covers your arms and legs and a broad-brimmed hat, which provides more protection than a baseball cap.

Don’t forget sunglasses. Look for a pair that provides full protection from both UVA and UVB rays.

Follow these four tips if you want to buy a good pain of sunglasses.

#4: Avoid tanning beds

Tanning beds emit UV radiation, which can increase the risk of skin cancer.

#5: Become familiar with your skin so that you’ll notice changes

Examine your skin so you know what your skin normally looks like. This way, you may be more likely to notice any skin changes.

The Mayo Clinic advises you to check your face, neck, ears and scalp. Examine your chest and trunk and the tops and undersides of your arms and hands. Examine both the front and back of your legs and your feet, including the soles and the spaces between your toes. Also check your genital area and between your buttocks.

If you notice anything unusual, point it out to your doctor at your next appointment.

#6: Ask your doctor about screening

If you’ve already had skin cancer, you have an increased risk of a second cancer. Talk with your dermatologist about how often you should be screened for a recurrence and whether you should do periodic skin checks on your own.
Well there you have it. Use these measures to reduce your risk of basal cell carcinoma.

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