You’ve probably heard stories about skin cancer. With increased awareness about the disease, there is a widespread availability of information–some of them are true while others are not!
Don’t be a victim of misconceptions that can put you a step farther from preventing skin cancer and understanding the condition. Here’s an infographic that debunks the most common skin cancer myths and includes tips on how you can prevent it!
10 Skin Cancer Myths Debunked!
MYTH 1: ONLY UVB RADIATION CAN CAUSE SKIN CANCER
False. Even UVA radiation can damage skin which may lead to skin cancer. To get the right amount of skin protection for all types of UV rays, it is best to use a ‘broad-spectrum’ sunscreen.
MYTH 2: THERE’S NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT SKIN CANCER
False. While skin cancer is not as alarming as the other types of cancer, they have an impact on quality of life and come with significant costs, too.
FACT: According to a new CDC Study: There are 5 million American adults diagnosed each year at a cost of $8.1 billion. Source:
MYTH 3: SUN EXPOSURE IS THE ONLY CAUSE OF SKIN CANCER
False. Aside from sun exposure, skin cancer can also be predisposed by the following factors:
- Ultraviolet (UV) radiation
- Compromised immunity
MYTH 4: YOU ARE PROTECTED FROM UV RAYS ON COOL OR CLOUDY DAYS
False. Not because the sun seems to be out, you’re already free from UV damage. Don’t be deceived! The tendency for sunburn from UV radiation to occur remains even on cool or cloudy days.
TIP! Know the Shadow Rule! It basically tells that UV rays are the strongest when your shadow is shorter than you!
MYTH 5: YOU CAN LOWER YOUR RISK OF SKIN CANCER BY USING SUNBEDS
False. Think sunbeds offer a safe way to tan? Think again. They actually emit UV radiation that poses greater risk than the sun and also increases your risk of melanoma and other skin cancers.
MYTH 6: DARK-SKINNED PEOPLE HAVE NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT SKIN CANCER
False. Although people with lighter complexion are more prone to skin cancer, you should know that the death rate among dark-skinned people is higher. One reason for this is late diagnosis of the disease or when treatment is already too late.
Did You Know? On estimate, black patients only have a 65% five-year melanoma survival rate as compared to 91% for white patients. Source: SkinCancer.Org
MYTH 7: OLDER PEOPLE ARE THE ONLY ONES AT RISK OF SKIN CANCER
False. Truth is, your sun exposure history plays a role in skin cancer. When you are exposed to UV rays during childhood or young adulthood, you have a higher risk of acquiring skin cancer when you grow old.
MYTH 8: FOUNDATION OR MOISTURIZERS WITH SUNSCREEN OFFER ENOUGH SUN PROTECTION
False. While this type of foundation or moisturiser offers sun protection, it can be used for a short period of time only. When going out for a long period of time, you still need to apply a regular sunscreen every 2 hours.
FACT: Even brief sun exposures can add up to significant skin damage. 10am to 4pm is the time when your skin is exposed to damaging UV rays when going outdoors.
MYTH 9: THE CHEMICALS IN SUNSCREEN ARE HARMFUL
False. According to the FDA, sunscreens are safe and effective against sunburns. To avoid untoward effects, your best choice would be the mineral sunscreens with zinc oxide or titanium oxide.
MYTH 10: ALL SUNSCREENS WORK THE SAME
False. How long you’ll be exposed to the sun impacts the effectiveness of sunscreen. Although an increase in SPF doesn’t result in proportionate increase in sun protection, there are differences that you should know.
- SPF 30 = 97% absorption of UV rays
- SPF 50 = 98% absorption of UV rays
- SPF 100 = 99% absorption of UV rays
SKIN CANCER CAN BE PREVENTED
Skin cancer is not a condition that you can simply disregard. Statistics don’t lie and if you don’t want to be a part of the numbers, you better up your sun protection now.
- In the UK, 9 in 10 cases of melanoma could be prevented through proper sun protection.
- In the US, there are 8.7 million people diagnosed each year with basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma–the two most common types of skin cancer.
As always, an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure–this goes true for skin cancer.
SUN SAFETY ADVICE
☀ Avoid getting sunburned as this increases the risk of developing melanoma.
☀ Stay protected from 10am to 4pm. This is the time when UV rays are strongest.
☀ Apply sunscreen at least every 2 hours especially during prolonged sun exposure.
☀ Go for protective gears. Sunglasses, wide-brimmed hats and clothes provide added protection.
☀ Pay attention to suspicious moles to detect melanoma when it’s still easy to treat.
Skin cancer is a serious issue. Know the truth behind the skin cancer myths to arm yourself with the knowledge that can protect you from this dreaded condition.
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