All of us know that expose to UV light is harmful to our skin, that’s why when heading outside, dermatologists advise us to apply sunscreen to help prevent skin cancer.
When that doesn’t seem like enough, especially if you are 40 years or older with a greater risk of getting skin cancer, there are other methods of prevention you can enact.
Common Types of Skin Cancer
Here are the most common types of skin cancer those over age 40 according to SkinCancer.org.
- #1 basal cell carcinoma with 4.3 million cases diagnosed annually in the U.S. alone.
- #2 squamous cell carcinoma at 1 million U.S. diagnosed cases and finally the most lethal skin cancer.
- #3 melanoma with an estimated 178,560 cases in the U.S. in 2018 causing an estimated 9,320 deaths. Skin cancer is nothing to take lightly.
Many of these methods to prevent skin cancer are as simple as a slight change to your diet, which not only can aid in lowering your risk of skin cancer, but promote overall health.
Ways to Prevent Skin Cancer.
Go Easy on Alcohol:
There is a chance that alcohol is associated with the risk of skin cancer, as recent studies have shown. Why is this? Research has shed led light on this very question.
Ultra violet radiation causes mutations in our DNA when our skin is exposed to it, and alcohol has certain byproducts that can hinder the repair of our damaged DNA. Alcohol also causes reactive oxygen species, which also can damage our DNA. If we cannot repair the damage done by UV radiation, then our chance of skin cancer is inherently higher.
So, it recommended to reduce alcohol consumption if you want to prevent skin cancer.
Snack on Brazil Nuts:
You’ve likely heard about how omega-3 fatty acids are one of the best nutrients to include in your diet to promote health, but did you know they also help prevent various cancers, including skin cancer?
Brazil nuts are loaded with Omega-3 fatty acids.
Because many skin cancers are linked to chronic inflammation, omega-3 fatty acids are recommended by dermatologists as a means to stave off chronic skin conditions and help in the prevention of skin cancers.
Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties and are found in fatty fish and nuts. While snacking on fish doesn’t seem convenient or necessarily appetizing, eating Brazil nuts throughout the day definitely does.
Eat Clean Foods:
What are clean foods? They are naturally grown foods that have little to no processing or added ingredients, which is why reducing or eliminating the consumption of processed foods is key to help prevent skin cancer, and other diseases.
When experts suggest eating clean foods, they are typically referring to things like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, unprocessed dairy products, leafy greens, and nuts.
Eating clean foods that are full of immune system boosting antioxidants can help guard and protect your body against not only the threat of cancer, but other diseases as well. Many fruits and vegetables contain nutrients and proteins needed to maintain and ensure skin health, which can also help reduce the risk of cancer.
Wear Sunblock Every Day and Reapply:
Adermatologist will advise you to use a sunscreen of at least SPF 15 and higher any time you step out into the sun. It doesn’t matter if the weather is a gloomy overcast, or you aren’t sunbathing, simply running a few errands, your skin is still exposed to the harmful UV rays.
Sunscreen should be reapplied every 20 minutes, especially if you are exercising or swimming. Take caution in the afternoon if you are outdoors, the sun begins to heat the atmosphere at noon, reaching its hottest point at around 3 P.M., this means the UV index has reached its peak, so keep your sunscreen close to lessen your exposure. All skin types are different, so some products may work better for your skin than others. Consult with your Delray Beach dermatologist to find the best sunscreen for your skin.
Caffeinate Every Day:
A recent study conducted by the Journal of National Cancer Institute researched the correlation of caffeine consumption and skin cancer. The study found that the more coffee consumed by the subjects, the lower the risk of serious skin cancers like melanoma. In fact, this lowered risk was so high that researchers found that coffee reduced the chance of cancer by 20%. The subjects in the study drank four or more cups of coffee each day, but those who drank no coffee did not see a lowered risk.
This goes to show that a cup of coffee a day can help keep the skin cancer away, as scientifically proven. Keep in mind that this does not apply to those who prefer decaffeinated coffee; you’ve got to go for the real stuff.
Load up on Greens:
As a child, you were probably told to eat your greens. As it turns out, your parents were right, leafy greens contain the powerhouse vitamin C. A long studied and researched vitamin, scientists concluded that the properties of vitamin C, found in leafy greens like spinach, have a natural toxicity to cancer cells. Meaning, your risk of cancer is lowered through the consumption of vitamin C. You can also find this helpful vitamin in things like broccoli and bell peppers.
Those of us over 40 years of age know that our chance of getting skin cancer is higher. Your local dermatologist can help advise you on other ways to help prevent skin cancer, and also perform annual skin checks to ensure no moles are irregular.
Dr. Tom Balshi is a board certified MD specializing in internal medicine ans dermatology. He owns and runs Balshi Dermatology is Delray Beach, FL.