Be careful of the amount of exposure to the sun during peak summer: HCFI
Statistics indicate that the incidence of skin cancer is about 70% more in Indian men than women.
Skin cancer occurs when there is unchecked growth of unnatural skin cells or tissues. The causes range from genetic factors to exposure to ultraviolet radiation. Although melanoma is the least common form of skin cancer, it accounts for majority of deaths due to the condition. Most skin cancers can be easily prevented by practicing sun safety measures.
Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, "Melanoma is one of the deadliest forms of skin cancer and develops in melanocytes or the pigment cells present in the skin. It can spread to other parts of the body (metastasize)
Some common symptoms of skin cancer include changes to skin; a skin sore that fails to heal; a spot or sore that becomes painful, itchy, or tender, or which bleeds; a spot or lump that looks shiny, waxy, smooth, or pale; a firm red lump that bleeds or appears ulcerated or crusty; and a flat, red spot that is rough, dry, or scaly.
Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, "Cancer, if detected early, can be treated at a much lower cost compared to that incurred when diagnosed at an advanced stage. The mortality rate is also lowered substantially if people report for screening when the earliest symptoms manifest. Unfortunately, nearly two-thirds of cancer cases are diagnosed at an advanced stage, reducing patients' chances of cure and survival."
Cancers of unknown primary or CUP accounts for up to 4 to 5 percent of all cancer diagnoses and can be classified into four categories: Adenocarcinoma, Squamous cell carcinoma, Neuroendocrine carcinoma (differentiated or poorly differentiated)
Some tips from HCFI
· Avoid the sun during the middle of the day. Schedule outdoor activities for other times of the day, even in winter or when the sky is cloudy. Clouds offer little protection from damaging rays. Avoiding the sun at its strongest helps you avoid the sunburns and suntans that cause skin damage and increase your risk of developing skin cancer.
· Wear sunscreen year-round. Sunscreens don't filter out all harmful UV radiation, especially the radiation that can lead to melanoma, but they do give overall sun protection. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15.
· Wear protective clothing. Cover your skin with dark, tightly woven clothing that covers your arms and legs and a broad-brimmed hat, which provides more protection than a baseball cap or visor does.
· Opt for sunglasses that block both types of UV radiation — UVA and UVB rays.
· Avoid tanning beds. Tanning beds emit UV rays and can increase your risk of skin cancer.
· Become familiar with your skin so you'll notice changes. Examine your skin regularly for new skin growths or changes in existing moles, freckles, bumps and birthmarks.
Dr K K Aggarwal