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ABCDEs of skin cancer melanoma and best sunscreens

Updated on January 15, 2012

Melanoma skin cancer is one of the most easily treatable cancers. It is so important for people to be aware of this disease, know all the preventive measures and go to their primary physicians or dermatologist for frequent checkups. Prevention and early detection are the keys at minimizing the effects this terrible disease. The skin is our biggest organ and everyone would notice your skin when they first meet you. This hub gives you many pointers that will help you stay healthy and beautiful.

The sun's damaging UV rays can harm your skin overtime. It is so important to properly protect your skin against the sun through physical barriers (clothes and hat) and sunscreen. With so many sunscreens on the market today, it is very confusing for an average person to choose a very good one. So what do you have to look for in a sunscreen? The ingredients tell you everything about the sunscreen. As most of you know, both UV-A and UV-B rays can harm the skin. Here is a chart below that lists the most common ingredients, which UV rays they block and whether they are chemical or physical barriers. Many experts and dermatologists recommend a physical barrier ingredient such as titanium dioxide / zinc oxide. These ingredients sit on your skin to physically block the sun's harmful UV rays. The chemical barrier ingredients need to react to block the rays which can cause irritations for very sensitive skin. The SPF should be at least 15 (filters 92% UV-B rays) or higher for those with very light skin and hair color. Sunscreen has to be reapplied every hour or more frequently if you are sweating. Another important indicator for a good sunscreen is the skin cancer foundation's seal of recommendation.

foundation / sunscreen (physical barriers) with seal of recommendation

Those that have lots of moles are at an increased risk for skin cancer because it can turn malignant overtime. It is so important for you to get them checked often for any changes. When caught early, skin cancer deaths can be easily prevented as opposed to some of the other cancers. A yearly or more frequent examination of all your moles by a dermatologist or a family doctor is the minimal that you need. You can even monitor it yourself or have your loved ones look at the ones you cannot easily see. Some sources recommend an examination of all your moles once a month. There are information all over the internet for moles that are potentially cancerous. Let's review it again. Knowing your ABCDEs rule of skin cancer melanoma is imperative. Let's start with a normal mole. A normal mole develops during childhood or early adult years, it is unusual for moles to appear in later adult years. The size is important, all normal moles are no larger than a pencil eraser. A mole that is round or oval shape with one color and a clearly defined border does not have the characteristics of a pre cancerous or cancerous mole.

Asymmetry – This one is easy. If a mole is not oval or round, it is pretty much asymmetrical. You can visually divide the mole in half in the center and see if the left side matches the right side. If not, you should have a dermatologist look at it right away. Early treatment is the key for most diseases and especially true for cancer.

Borders – Normal moles have clearly defined borders. Those that are problematic fades into the skin creating no clear borders. This is a clear sign that something is wrong and should be checked by a medical professional immediately.

Color – Normal moles have only one color. However, abnormal ones have more than one color. A variety of colors can be observed for a cancerous mole.

Diameter – This is the length across the whole mole. Most dermatologist and family doctors will say that the mole should be no larger than a pencil eraser. You should visually examine your mole frequently by yourself or with a loved one. If it is growing in size, it is a clear sign that something is wrong. Cancerous moles grow very quickly and can get larger in a matter of a month.

Evolving – Normal moles stay the same. Cancerous ones change overtime. Some change very quickly which is why you should monitor it frequently. It could get bigger, change color or the borders fade into the surrounding skin. There are many things that will happen and you have to pay attention to the moles. Your body has its ways to let you know if something is wrong. So, it is very important to keep in mind the ABCDEs of melanoma or skin cancer.

Those that have light skin, light hair, have a family history of skin cancer are the ones especially at risk of developing melanoma or skin cancer. It is imperative to protect your skin against the sun with the proper clothing and sunscreen. When you are protected, the chances of developing skin cancer is significantly reduced. The ABCDEs of melanoma should be memorized so that you can check your moles frequently. Those that have darker skin evolved natural ways to minimize skin cancer and are not especially at risk. However, you should still protect yourself by knowing everything that is mentioned here in this hub.


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