How to prevent Basal Cell Carcinoma
If caught and treated early, basal cell carcinoma can be highly curable. Learning what to look for on your skin gives you the power to detect cancer early.
SkinVision can be used as an important tool to help to screen skin cancer or tracking changes in prevent basal cell carcinoma (however, it cannot prevent skin cancer from developing).
Check yourself head to toe and look for new or changing lesions that grow, bleed or do not heal.
1. Protect against UV rays
The majority of sun exposure occurs before age 18 and skin cancer can take 20 years or more to develop. Whether your sunbathing days are behind you or you still spend time pursuing the perfect tan, you should be concerned about skin cancer.
Protecting yourself against ultraviolet (UV) rays is therefore an important basal cell carcinoma prevention method.
Remember, the sun’s UV rays can reflect off water, sand, concrete and snow, and can reach below the water’s surface. Certain types of UV lights penetrate fog and clouds, so it’s possible to get sunburnt even on overcast days.
2. Stay in the shade
A very important way to limit your exposure to UV rays is to avoid being in direct sunlight for long periods of time.
You need to be able to walk outside in a normal way. But when you do, pay attention to where you are walking. Try to walk in the shade whenever possible.
3. Apply sunscreen
Sunscreen is an important part of a complete sun protection plan.
When used as directed, it is proven to decrease your risk of skin cancers and skin pre-cancers.
The Skin Cancer Foundation advises everyone to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day.
For extended outdoor activity, use a water-resistant, broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Reapply every two hours or after swimming or sweating.
Remember the sun protection factor (SPF)
The number tells you how long the sun’s UVB rays would take to redden your skin when using a particular sunscreen compared with the amount of time without sunscreen.
So if you use an SPF 15 product exactly as directed (applied generously and evenly, and reapplied after two hours or after sweating or swimming), it would take you 15 times longer to burn than if you weren’t wearing sunscreen.
4. Broad spectrum
The words “broad spectrum” on a label indicate that the sunscreen contains ingredients that effectively protect against UVA rays as well as UVB.
5. Water resistance
While sunscreens can’t claim to be waterproof, they can be labeled water resistant for either 40 or 80 minutes. You can also burn when you’re in the water, so reapplication is key.
Children need special attention. They tend to spend more time outdoors, can burn more easily, and may not be aware of the dangers. Try to keep babies and young children out of direct sunlight. In addition to providing a protective hat and clothing, you can apply sunscreen to children starting at six months.
Sunscreens should not be used as an alternative to clothing and shade, rather they offer additional protection. No sunscreen will provide 100% protection.
6. Cover up
Clothing can provide a great barrier against the sun’s UV rays. Clothing protection is consistent over time and doesn’t wear off like sunscreen does.
Many new fabrics offer high-tech protection and breathability, too. The more skin you cover (high neck, long sleeves, pants), the better, and a hat with a wide brim all the way around (three inches or more) is best because it helps shade your eyes, ears, face and neck. Also wear UV-blocking sunglasses to protect your eyes and the surrounding skin.
Remember, any clothing leaves some skin exposed, so you need sunscreen, too. Don’t forget to apply it to your hands, especially after washing them.
7. Avoid tanning beds
Tanning lamps emit UVA and UVB rays, both of which can cause long-term skin damage, and contribute to skin cancer.
Most skin doctors and health organizations recommend not using tanning beds and sun lamps.
Always follow up
If you’ve already had either basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, or a pre-cancer condition like actinic keratosis, be sure to see your doctor for medical advice.