WHAT ARE THE WARNING SIGNS OF SKIN CANCER?
Our skin is the first defense against the world outside. Naturally, this largest organ of ours requires a lot more care than we usually give it.
In India where many still have an unhealthy obsession to be fair, we forget that the presence of eumelanin in dark skin acts as a protective shield against the development of skin cancer. This is probably the reason why as a country, we have reported low incidences of skin cancers when compared to other countries. Or it could also be that we are not aware of skin cancer and its symptoms.
How to self-check for the early signs of Skin Cancer
The experts at KIMS suggest that you do a monthly self-examination. It would be best if you have your partner help you in examining the hard to see areas like the back or the scalp.
While doing a monthly self-examination, do look for the following:
- Any spot on the skin that itches, or secretes/ bleeds or hasn’t healed for longer than a month.
- Any non-healing ulcer, growths or sores next to old scars. Don’t ignore your nails or the skin under it either and check for color changes (like black or brown)
- In case of any skin growth/moles or ulcers always look out for ABC (Asymmetry, Border deformity, and Color change).
If you have a suspicious-looking skin change or would rather have a medically trained team take a look, do schedule an appointment with our expert dermatologists.
- Use sunscreens.
In western countries, there is a huge emphasis on using sunscreens. A sunscreen with an SPF value of 15 to 30 is ideally recommended by dermatologists for skin protection. As explained early, Indian skin with eumelanin is a good first line of defense but it is better to use sunscreen, wear long-sleeved cotton outfits, hats or caps, and sunglasses when stepping out into the harsh sun. It would be great if you can avoid long term sun exposure during the 12-4 noontime.
- Eat a nutrient-rich diet.
Eat a diet rich in beta carotenoids (think colorful vegetables like carrots and beetroots) and food rich in antioxidants. Studies have proven that these food types reduce radical damage caused by the sun.