5 Myths of Skin Cancer
Posted October 15, 2022 by Anusha ‐ 3 min read
The month of May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month, and Monday May 1st is Melanoma Monday. Melanoma is the least common but most deadly skin cancer. Melanoma incidence rates have been rising for at least 30 years. It is the 5th most common cancer in men and the 7th most common cancer in in women.
Myth: A tanning bed is safer than UV rays from the sun.
Exposure to the ultraviolet light from tanning beds can impact the skin in a variety of ways including wrinkles, sun spots or freckles.
And for one in every five Americans, this exposure can lead to skin cancer.
The use of tanning beds and sun lamps is hazardous because the UV radiation they deliver can damage your skin.
Dermatologists highly recommend not using tanning beds and sun lamps.
There is growing evidence they may increase your risk of developing melanoma.
If you are seeking a tanned appearance, consider sunless tanning products.
Myth: People who tan easily and rarely burn will not get cancer.
There is no such thing as a healthy suntan.
Any change in your natural skin color is a sign of skin damage.
Evidence suggests tanning greatly increases your risk of developing skin cancer.
The increase in skin pigment called melanin, which causes your skin to tan, is a sign of damage.
Once skin is exposed to UV radiation, it increases the production of melanin in an attempt to protect the skin from further damage.
The increase in melanin may cause your skin tone to darken over the next 48 hours.
Every time your skin color changes after sun exposure, your risk of developing sun-related ailments increases.
The sun’s rays, called ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B rays (UVA and UVB rays), damage your skin.
This leads to early wrinkles, skin cancer and other skin problems.
Over time, being in the sun often even if you don’t burn can lead to skin cancer.
Myth: Dark-skinned men and women are not at risk for sun damage and skin cancer.
Though naturally dark people have a much lower risk of skin cancer than fair-toned people, this does not make them immune to skin cancer.
Darker skinned men and women should still take action to protect their skin and eyes from overexposure to the sun as they can still develop malignancies and suffer all forms of UV damage.
In addition, cases of skin cancer in people with darker skin are often not detected until later stages, when it is more dangerous.
Myth: You don’t need to wear sunscreen on a cloudy day.
It is a common myth that you can’t get sunburned on a cloudy day; this is simply not the case.
Even under cloud cover, it is possible for the sun to harm your skin and eyes and cause long-term damage.
It is important that you protect yourself with sunscreen, even in cloudy weather.
Myth: Teenagers and young people don’t have to worry about skin cancer. It only affects older adults.
Melanoma is the most common form of cancer in young adults, ages 25 to 29.
It is also increasing faster in women ages 15 to 29 than in men in the same age group.
You should check your skin monthly and be alert to changes in the number, size, shape or color of spots on your skin or sores that do not heal.
Pay special attention to moles especially moles that have recently changed, bleed or itch.