Preventative Tips

Sun Exposure and The Dangers of Melanoma

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Team MoleMap Creator
Posted 03/10/13

It is one thing to know the risk and another to understand it and take measures to lower it. Most people know that the ultraviolet radiation from the sun can cause melanoma, but many do not realize the gravity of the risk. Find out more about the way in which the sun can damage your skin and your overall health.

Melanoma and Ultraviolet Radiation

The ultraviolet (UV) radiation is part of the spectrum of light which comes from the sun and reaches out planet. Its wavelengths are shorter than those of visible light so we cannot see it coming and affecting our bodies.

Three types of UV radiation have been identified depending on their wavelengths UVA, UVB and UVC. UVB has been linked to skin cancer and to melanoma, in particular.

How does UV radiation work to cause skin cancer? The harmful UV rays penetrate the skin. They cause damage to the DNA of the cells in the upper layers of the skin. The body works to repair the damage naturally and in most cases it is successful. However, in some cases, the damage is irreversible.

The DNA of the cells has changed completely and now they are abnormal. The cancerous cells multiply more quickly than normal ones and form tumours. They can also travel to other parts of the body and spread the cancer there.

In the case of melanoma, researchers have found that the cancer typically spreads to the liver and to the brain. The natural question to ask yourself is what you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones.

Melanoma Prevention Doesn't Mean Avoiding the Sun

You cannot stay inside in a dark room at all times to avoid the sun. After all, it is also the major source of life on our planet and most living things cannot live normally without it. Being reasonable when taking preventive measures is important.

The best way to protect yourself from UV radiation and consequently from melanoma is to avoid the midday sun. Try to stay inside between 11 in the morning and 4 in the afternoon. If you have to be outdoors, you should try to stay under the thickest shade possible.

There are a number of preventive measures which you can take when you go outside. Wearing clothes that cover as much of the skin as possible is essential. Put a hat on as well. It is best to go for one with a wide brim so that it can protect your face and neck as well.

The application of sunscreen every time when you go out is essential for melanoma prevention. Get frequent screenings as well.