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Adair County Relay for Life Committee offers education on cancer prevention
First in a series of articles on Cancer
Relay for Life is a yearly event to raise money for cancer research and cures. The citizens of Adair County put a tremendous amount of effort and time each year to make this a successful event. As a committee dedicated to helping those with cancer and those who have survived cancer, we also want to address the issues of cancer prevention. According to the American Cancer Society there are several things individuals can do to reduce the risk of having cancer. Over the next several weeks the committee plans to submit articles with information on cancer prevention.
Skin Cancer is the most common of all cancer types with more than one million skin cancers diagnosed each year in the United States. The number of skin cancers has been rising over the past few decades. There are however, ways to protect yourself and your family from skin cancer. Most skin cancers are caused by too much exposure to ultraviolet rays, mostly from the sun but may come from tanning beds.
Skin cancers are usually divided into 2 groups, melanomas and non-melanomas. Non-melanomas include basal cell and squamous cell cancers. These types usually develop on sun-exposed parts of the body, but not always. Non-melanoma cancers rarely spread elsewhere in the body, but left untreated can grow quite large and cause scarring, disfigurement or loss of function to body parts. Melanoma is less common than basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers, but is far more serious. Melanoma is almost always curable in its early stages, but is more likely than the others to spread to other parts of the body where it can be hard to treat.
To protect against skin cancer limit sun exposure during 10 am and 4 pm, when the sun is the strongest. When in the sun, wear protective clothing, dark colors provide more protection than light. Wear a hat and sunglasses and always use sunscreen with a protective factor (SPF) of 15 or higher. Sunscreen does not give total protection and must be reapplied as recommended on the label. Most sunscreens have an expiration date, so beware of products on sale!
It is important to check your skin monthly in front of a full - length mirror. Notice the pattern of moles, blemishes, freckles and other marks on the skin so that you will notice changes the next time checked. Always consult your physician if you have any concerns or see changes.
For more information on skin cancers, prevention and treatment visit www.cancer.org or call 1-800-ACS-2345..
This story was posted on 2006-04-29 07:27:41
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