Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States, affecting millions of people each year. But despite its prevalence, there are many myths and misconceptions about skin cancer that can be dangerous and even deadly.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common myths about skin cancer and provide accurate information to help you make informed decisions about your skin health.
This myth is particularly dangerous because it can lead people with darker skin to believe that they are not at risk of skin cancer and may not take proper precautions to protect their skin from the sun. However, skin cancer can affect people of all skin types, and in fact, skin cancer is often more deadly in people with darker skin because it is often diagnosed at a later stage. While fair-skinned people may be more likely to develop skin cancer, it is important for everyone to protect their skin from the sun and to regularly check for signs of skin cancer.
Many people believe that they only need to wear sunscreen on hot, sunny days when they are spending time outside. However, UV rays can penetrate clouds and cause damage to the skin even on cloudy days. Additionally, UV rays can reflect off of surfaces such as water, sand, and snow, increasing your exposure to the sun. It is important to wear sunscreen every day, even on cloudy days, and to reapply it regularly, especially if you are spending time outside.
Tanning beds use UV radiation to tan the skin, which can cause significant damage and increase the risk of skin cancer. In fact, the World Health Organization has classified tanning beds as a known carcinogen, meaning that they are a direct cause of cancer. Using a tanning bed even once can increase your risk of developing skin cancer, including melanoma, by 20%. There is no safe way to use a tanning bed, and it is important to avoid them altogether.
Skin cancer is often viewed as a less serious type of cancer than other forms such as breast or lung cancer. However, skin cancer can be deadly, especially if it is not detected early. Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, can spread to other parts of the body and become difficult to treat if it is not caught early. It is important to take skin cancer seriously and to take steps to prevent it and detect it early.
While it is true that sun exposure is a major risk factor for skin cancer, it is possible to develop skin cancer on parts of your body that are not exposed to the sun. Skin cancer can develop on the soles of the feet, the palms of the hands, and even under the nails. Additionally, skin cancer can develop in areas that are covered by clothing or in areas that are not typically exposed to the sun, such as the genitals or the inside of the mouth. It is important to regularly check your entire body for signs of skin cancer, not just the areas that are exposed to the sun.
While it is important to have a dermatologist check your skin once a year, it is also important to regularly check your skin yourself for signs of skin cancer. Skin cancer can develop quickly, and early detection is key to successful treatment. It is recommended that you check your skin every month for any new or changing moles or spots and to see a dermatologist if anything seems amiss.
While it is true that the risk of developing skin cancer increases as you age, skin cancer can affect people of all ages, including children. Melanoma is one of the most common types of cancer in young adults. It is important to protect your skin from the sun and to regularly check for signs of skin cancer, regardless of your age.
As you can see, there are many myths and misconceptions about skin cancer so it’s important to educate yourself about the facts. Don't wait until it's too late – prioritize your skin health and do all you can to protect yourself from skin cancer.
Call 757-461-1033 today and schedule an exam with one of our dermatologists to discuss your skin concerns.