Cancer From The Sky

Warning about sun exposure and cancer.

Doctors once said that sunlight is good for the body. It provides vitamin D that gives nutrients which will strengthen the bones and muscles. It also boosts the immune system which prevents people from diseases like the common cold.

Recently, new research is saying something different. Studies have shown that too much exposure to the sun is bad because this could lead to skin cancer.

In the United States alone, more than a million people are diagnosed with this disease each year. An estimated one hundred thousand of these patients will not survive. Though this is curable if diagnosed early, there is a more dangerous form that can't be cured known as melanoma.

The greatest people at risk for this disease are children. This is especially for babies under 6 months of age since the skin cannot produce enough melanin to protect it from the sun's ultraviolet light.

This is also affects adolescents and teenagers because of the length of time spent outdoors compared to adults.  Whenever the skin gets tanned or burned, it damages the person's skin cells and DNA. Since the body cannot repair all of these, it becomes cancerous cells. This strengthens the belief of dermatologists that there is a strong link between sunburn obtained during childhood to melanoma later in life.

Melanoma begins to show as moles or tumors on the skin. This can grow anywhere on the person's body and are most frequently found on the leg or upper back. Should these grow darker, get larger, itch, spread or bleed then it is best to consult the doctor for proper examination.

Experts have always said that prevention is the best medicine. By following five simple steps, this could help reduce the chances of being another victim of this disease.

1. The sun's rays are intense between 10am to 4pm. By doing fewer activities during these hours, this could help prevent over exposure from the sun's UV rays. One should realize that being in a cold climate does not protect the individual since the snow reflects sunlight that could still do damage to the skin.

2. It is advisable to wear long sleeves and long pants to keep the skin covered whenever going outdoors. A hat or cap is also good to protect the neck and cheeks from over exposure.  The best color that gives protection are dark colored clothes.

3. Sunglasses can protect the person from too much exposure from the sun. Before buying a pair, one should check if this blocks UV rays since overexposure can cause cataracts that may result to blindness.

4. A lot of companies have manufactured sunscreen protection for the public. The best ones to buy should have a Sun Protection Factor of 15 or higher since this can help prevent sunburns.

The directions must be read carefully before applying it on the body. Sunscreen can only do so much even when the person is in the water. This is because like snow, water can penetrate into the water and do some damage to the skin.

5. Some people believe that tanning beds are safer than being outdoors. Research has shown that this is not true and can increase the chances of skin cancer in the long term. The best advice then is to avoid such places since this could do more harm than good.

Skin cancer can strike anyone regardless of age or gender. By taking the proper precautions, the individual will not be another countless victim of this dreaded disease.