You like that tanned look—all golden and healthy looking. But do you know that you get it at a price if you are sunbathing? The sun’s ultraviolet rays damage the skin. Men don’t take as much care of their skin as women do so they don’t pay attention to those telltale moles and changes in the skin. And the statistics show that men are at higher risk of skin cancer than women, especially older white males. And an increased number of sunburns puts you further at risk.
About 30,000 men are expected to develop skin cancer this year according to the American Cancer Society. Skin cancer can be either nonmelanoma or melanoma and of these there are the squamous carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma.
If you have freckles and tan easily then make sure you wear a widebrimmed hat (protects the neck, ears and face), sunglasses, and protective clothing (pants, long-sleeved shirts), and use sunscreen lotion with a high SPF (use it during the winter months also). You can’t reverse the effects of the sun so if you have been in the habit of tanning yourself or working or playing with increased exposure to the sun then you must watch out for warning signs in your skin. Tanning beds and sunlamps can also damage your skin so avoid these too. Use a tanning lotion, which gives the same effect and is less risky.
The twist in the tale here is that researchers have now found that sunscreens block the body’s absorbance of Vitamin D—which is only found in certain foods that not everybody eats. (Vitamin D is an anti-cancer agent!) So the sun was arguably the only source of Vitamin D for a lot of people. So while you should be getting a dose of the sun’s rays you should be limiting your exposure to it as well. Tanning habits are also different from country to country and depend on the intensity of the sun’s rays.
Get yourself checked thoroughly by a physician or a dermatologist and give them information about your sunbathing and outdoor sports habits. You could also be unaware of changes in your skin as the cancer normally affects the back in men. Get someone to help you check those areas you can’t see or use a mirror to check the scalp and the back of the neck.
Report moles and tan spots that you may have noticed changing in any way, and seek immediate medical attention. Moles that have changed shape or color, have jagged edges or a rough surface, are raised above the skin, or are larger than one-quarter of an inch need to be examined closely.
The earlier the cancer is detected the more successful the treatment is likely to be.
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