06.04.24 in Advice & Tips

Ways To Prevent Melanoma

Ways To Prevent Melanoma | Magnolia Medical & Aesthetics

Summer is just a few weeks away and as the temperature increase, so does the rays from the sun. As such, knowing the ways to detect and prevent melanoma can be really helpful. Obviously, the best approach is prevention and the most effective treatment is early detection.

At Magnolia Medical & Aesthetics, we offer various brands of sunscreen to help protect your skin while spending time outdoors. We also offer full body skin exams service which allow us to check for abnormalities on the epidermis that can potentially lead to skin cancer.

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What Causes Melanoma?

Unfortunately, the exact causes of melanoma are not fully known. But according to research, cancer can develop when changes in certain genes that control cell growth causes cells to grow out of control.

Although most cancer-related gene changes happen during a person’s lifetime, some appear randomly, without a known cause. Others occur due to specific risk factors such as ultraviolet (UV) light. Changes in certain genes can also be due to family history. Even so, people who don’t have any risk factors can still get melanoma, but not everyone with risk factors will get melanoma.

Melanoma Risk Factors

As noted above, family history could mean you are at risk for melanoma in addition to the following risk factors:

  • Sun exposure
  • Fair skin
  • Large moles at birth
  • Age
  • Many moles
  • Family history of melanoma
  • Atypical moles

1. Sun Exposure

The most major risk factor for skin cancer, including melanoma, is overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. Obviously, you can’t see this happening in realtime, but the radiation reaches your skin by invisible rays from the sun. UVA and UVB are the two types of UV radiation.

UVA radiation causes skin damage as the rays travel through clouds and glass. According to the National Cancer Institute, UVA ray exposure can lead to skin cancer and early aging. If you’re looking for ways to help prevent melanoma, you should avoid tanning beds and sun lamps because they also cause exposure to harmful UVA rays.

UVB radiation causes blistering and sunburns. In fact, scientists believe that UVB causes most skin cancers. People who are exposed to UVB radiation can induce the onset of melanoma, particularly if they had blistering or sunburns. Additionally, people who do outdoor sports, spend time at the beach, or work outside have a higher risk for skin cancer.

However, melanoma can also start in parts of your body that are not exposed to sunlight. For example, the membranes lining the eyes, vagina, sinuses, anus, nails, and feet. Even though these are rare conditions that anybody can develop, doctors are still trying to understand why they happen.

2. Fair Skin

If you have any of the below, you are at higher risk of getting skin cancer, including melanoma:

  • Blond or red hair
  • Fair skin
  • Light-colored or blue eyes

Melanin is a skin pigment which is what gives eyes, skin, and hair their color. People with fair skin have less melanin. Albeit melanin gives some natural protection from the sun, people with dark skin who have more melanin can still get melanoma. Also, you are at risk for melanoma if your skin sunburns or freckles.

3. Many Moles or Large Moles

Even if your moles look normal, you are at higher risk for melanoma if you have many moles. Having unusually large congenital moles (birthmarks) could lead to melanoma. However, the risk for melanoma depends on the mole size and if you have bigger moles, you are at higher risk.

4. Age

It’s crappy getting older because there are so many changes that happen to our bodies, both internally and externally. But since aging is a fact of life that no one can escape, we can at least take better care of our bodies, including knowing ways to prevent melanoma.

When your skin was exposed to harmful UV rays and when melanoma starts, usually takes a long time. Unfortunately, most melanoma is in older people because as the body ages, it’s more difficult to fix damage from the sun and this raises cancer risk. Luckily, children rarely get melanoma.

5. Family History

If your parents or blood relatives like siblings had melanoma, you are at higher risk of getting melanoma. Some people are born with genes that make it more likely they will get melanoma because the genetic change was inherited from their parents. Consequently, if you know that you have this gene mutation, you can learn more about the ways to prevent melanoma and make better choices that lowers your risk for melanoma.

6. Atypical Moles

Sometimes certain types of moles run in families. If you have moles that look like these, you are a higher risk for melanoma:

  • Flat and bumpy
  • Unevenly shaped
  • Unusually large
  • Many colors

Ways To Prevent or Reduce Your Risk of Melanoma Skin Cancer

As with most diseases or conditions, prevention is the best method of treatment. With this in mind, the best way to protect yourself from skin cancer is to avoid ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun’s rays. We recommend you:

  • Do not use indoor tanning machines.
  • Stay out of the sun from 10am to 4pm when rays are the strongest.
  • Even in winter and on cloudy days, apply sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher 30 minutes before going outside.
  • Apply a thick layer of sunscreen (about 2 tablespoons), on your body and face.
  • Get into the shade whenever possible.
  • Wear broad-spectrum sunscreen which blocks both UVA and UVB rays.
  • Wear protective clothing such as sunglasses, long sleeve shirts, and wide brimmed hats.

Conclusion

From the moment you get in touch with us, our experienced medical providers provide expert and compassionate care. Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States with over 5 million cases diagnosed each year. It is also one of the most preventable cancers. By sharing facts about the dangers of unprotected sun exposure and encouraging people to check their skin, we can help save your life!

Request an Appointment at Magnolia Medical & Aesthetics

Book online or call (210) 600-3335 to learn more about our products and services to help prevent skin cancer.

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