For some forms of cancer, there’s little you can do in terms of prevention – but for others, like skin cancer, prevention is easily possible. That’s because for almost all forms of skin cancer, the chief cause is sun exposure: the harsh, high-energy UV rays in sunlight attack the DNA in skin cells, eventually causing cancerous growths to form.
Without question, the primary risk factor for skin cancer is exposure to sunlight. Accordingly, the best thing you can do to prevent skin cancer is minimize your exposure to the sun as much as possible – but that doesn’t mean you have to spend all day inside! According to experts like this top dermatologist in orlando, while it’s a good idea to avoid direct sunlight during the peak hours of the day (between roughly 10 am and 3 pm), you can still enjoy time outdoors while protecting yourself from skin cancer.
The first step in controlling sun exposure is clothing. Choose long-sleeved shirts and long pants wherever possible, and try to opt for thick materials instead of mesh, as loose mesh can let a surprising amount of sunlight reach the skin. Some shirts may have their SPF rating listed, so try to find clothing with the highest SPF rating possible. Wearing a wide-brimmed hat can help protect both the top of your head and the skin on your face, both of which are highly sensitive to sunlight.
Outside of clothing, the best thing for prevention is sunblock. Apply a generous amount of sunblock to any exposed skin on your body, making sure to get oft-forgotten areas like your ears, hands, and feet. You should use roughly two tablespoons of sunblock across your entire body. Apply the sunscreen 30 minutes before sun exposure, and reapply every 2 hours and anytime after swimming.
Skin cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer, but also one of the most preventable – and following these tips can help you retain healthy, cancer-free skin late into your life. That said, if you ever do find anything that looks like cancer, it’s important to seek the help of a cancer treatment expert immediately.