How much do you know about skin cancer? The reality is that many people are unaware of the dangers associated with this serious medical condition. Find out the truth behind some of the most widespread myths. This will help you to protect yourself and your loved ones in the best possible way.
Only old people get it.
This is one of the biggest misconceptions about skin cancer. The statistical data shows that the incidence of melanoma, which is the deadliest of all types, in people aged between 18 and 39 increased by 800% between 1970 and 2010. In most countries around the globe, melanoma is the most common type of cancer in this age group. Another alarming fact is that the number of children between the ages of 0 and 19 diagnosed with this condition increases at a rate of about 2% on an annual basis.
People with darker complexion are safe.
It is true that these people have a lower risk of this condition. However, there are other factors which put them in danger. Firstly, they are more likely to get cancerous growths which are harder to notice. The growths may appear along the hair line, behind the ears and even under the nails. Furthermore, late-stage diagnoses are more prevalent in people of colour. When the condition is diagnosed at a later stage, the chances of survival are naturally much lower.
It appears only in the skin areas which get the most sun.
This is another huge myth. Cancerous tumours including moles can grow on all parts of the body. Often, they appear in areas which get the least sun, if any, such as the inner side of the thighs and the pubic area. Malignant growths can appear even on the soles. That is why every part of the skin must be carefully examined.
Tanned skin is better protected.
This is totally not true. Tanned skin is actually damaged skin. Your skin gets darker because it produces more melanin, a pigment which is intended to protect the cells from damage. Tanning can increase your risk of skin cancer. Furthermore, it speeds up ageing. It leads to fine lines, wrinkles and spots which are difficult to treat.
No one is perfectly safe from skin cancer. People of all ages and ethnicities should avoid outdoor activities between 10 in the morning and 5 in the afternoon. If they go outside, they must wear sunscreen and protective clothing and accessories. The use of tanning beds should be avoided. Regular mole checks are important as well.