Skin cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in the United States. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, over 9,000 Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer every day.

Sun Exposure and Skin Cancer 

Studies have shown that repeated and unprotected sun exposure can lead to development of skin cancer. One study showed that sun exposure can have a role to play in the initiation stage of cancer. It causes mutation of the tumor suppressor gene which results to initiation of cells resistant to apoptosis (cell death). Constant UV exposure results to proliferation of these apoptotic-resistant cells. Some of these cells can reach the precancerous and then the cancerous state.


Reducing Skin Cancer Risk by Using Sunscreen 

Totally avoiding the sun is almost impossible, especially if you live in a place where it’s sunny year-round. Summer is another time to be extra cautious about sun exposure. The physicians of Premier Surgical in Knoxville urge you to take initiative to apply sunscreen regularly when you’re spending prolonged periods of time outside.

A good way to protect yourself and your family from the skin-damaging effects of UV exposure is getting good quality sunscreen. Studies have shown that regular sunscreen protection can reduce the risk of getting basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma. These are non-melanoma forms of skin cancer.

For better sun protection, experts suggest getting a broad-spectrum sunscreen (protects against UVA and UVB rays) and choosing a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15. Check the product’s expiration date too, as some of the sunscreen ingredients degrade over time. If you participate in summer activities outdoors that cause you to sweat, or if you’re planning to do any water activities, then it’s best to have a waterproof sunscreen.

Skin experts also advise reading the label before buying a sunscreen. Getting more expensive sunscreen doesn’t always mean you’re getting better quality. They may smell nice or feel good on the skin, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that they offer better protection.

It’s never too late to start integrating sun protection practices into your life. In addition to wearing sunscreen, you can help protect yourself by wearing sunglasses, hats, or sun protective clothing that limits your sun exposure. Spotting skin abnormalities early-on is also crucial to fighting skin cancer. The physicians of Premier Surgical are experienced in the surgical treatment of skin cancers. They maintain that prevention is key and

recommend performing a self-skin examination once a month. If you do spot an abnormality, consult your physician or dermatologist for a professional examination.  For more information about melanoma and other skin cancers, visit our webpage.