April is National Cancer Control Month, a period during our busy year when the attention turns to combatting and overcoming this disease. According to researchers, more than 550,000 Americans die each year in the United States from one or another form of this disease.
Although skin cancers don’t account for a large percentage of the annual fatalities from this disease, they’re very problematic and their incidence is on the rise. Like with other forms of cancer, skin cancer often has a cause – the ultraviolet rays of the sun, in this case. And as with other cancers, there are things people can do to decrease their chances of developing this condition. Keep reading to learn more about skin cancer treatment and cancer prevention in general.
Much of the literature and programs surrounding National Cancer Control Month center on treatment methods for healing people of their cancers. Advances are continually being made in chemotherapy and surgical practices, spearheaded by many great organizations such as the American Cancer Society.
But controlling cancer doesn’t mean only surgical and pharmaceutical methods for removing it. Controlling cancer also means prevention, and that’s the message we hope to do our part to bring to everybody. It’s wonderful to live in a day and age of amazing medical advancements to help us treat and cure diseases, but as the old saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” So we want encourage everyone to take the time to learn about cancer (and other diseases) and find out what we can do proactively to prevent it.
Cancer develops in certain environments
Without getting overly-technical, cancer doesn’t just “happen.” For it to be present in or on a body, there must be an environment conducive to its growth. For example, a sedentary lifestyle coupled with a diet devoid of critical nutrients can set the stage for any number of cancers to flourish in the body.
We don’t know all the details as to why a diet full of fruits, vegetables, fiber, whole grains and nuts acts to combat the growth of cancer, but we know it’s true. Same with physical activity. As the population has adapted to more sedentary lifestyles, we see an alarming increase of all kinds of cancers, compared to the older days, when people worked more physically demanding jobs and didn’t “sit around” as much as we do today.
Combatting skin cancer
Where skin cancer is concerned, control and prevention isn’t difficult. Lengthy exposure to the harmful UV rays of the sun is what in many cases creates the ideal environment for different types of cancers to grow on or within our skin. Estimates show that about 90% of basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma (cancer) cases are linked to ultraviolet radiation from the sun.
Melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer, isn’t nearly as prevalent as basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma, but it is responsible for the majority of all skin cancer deaths. SkinCancer.org estimates that 10,130 Americans will die from melanoma skin cancer in 2016. At DermSurgery Associates of Houston, our focus is on skin cancer, which isn’t as deadly as some other cancers but is still claiming too many lives.
How can we combat skin cancer? Aside from good nutrition and exercise, which increases health, overall, we can limit our time under the sun. And when we’re out in the sun for extended periods, we can use a high-quality sunscreen with a minimal SPF of 15. It’s really that easy. The hard part is remembering to apply sunscreen and/or limit the amount of time we spend in the sun. So let’s use National Cancer Control Month as our reminder that skin cancer can be controlled if we’ll just take a few simple precautions.
DermSurgery is a strong advocate of skin-cancer awareness and education and are committed to doing our part to help people everywhere live more healthy and productive lives. We believe in prevention first, but if skin cancer does happen, we’re prepared with the most powerful, cutting-edge treatment strategies to address the problem fast.
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DermSurgery Associates is a Greater Houston area dermatology practice offering cosmetic, surgical and non-invasive dermatology treatments with industry-leading physicians trained and experienced with the most current dermatology technologies and procedures. For more information, contact
7515 Main, Suite 240
Houston, TX 77030