Posted on: 3 February 2020
When you're given a diagnosis of skin cancer, you might think that the time to protect your skin is behind you, at least until your cancer is defeated. While it's easy to think this, it's not actually true. It's important to protect your skin starting now, continuing through your treatment, and then finally once your treatment is complete and you're cancer-free. Here's what you need to know about protecting your skin.
Having Cancer Raises Your Risk
It may seem unfair, but the unfortunate reality is that once you have cancer, your risk of developing future cancers goes up. With skin cancer, this doesn't mean that the exact same part of your face or body is going to develop melanoma. It means that your risk of developing melanoma goes up anywhere. Since having a sunburn or other excessive sun exposure can increase your risk further, it's important to do everything that you can to reduce this risk by wearing sunscreen and avoiding the sun as much as possible.
Treatment and Skin Damage
To make matters worse, cancer treatment can temporarily increase your risk of developing skin damage from UV exposure. Both radiation and chemotherapy can have this effect. So even though you're currently undergoing treatment for your cancer, you could be setting yourself up for developing more skin cancers in the future if you're being regularly exposed to the sun without protection. And remember, UV exposure can even happen indoors if you're anywhere near a window, so using protection all the time is ideal.
What to Look For
If you're going to start wearing sunscreen after reading this guide, you're off to a great start. However, the type of sunscreen you purchase is just as important as using it in the first place.
To ensure you're protected from both UVA and UVB rays, look for a sunscreen that's clearly marked as being "wide-spectrum protection." This indicates that it protects against both of these forms of UV, not just UVA.
Also, choose a sunscreen with a high SPF number. The higher the number the better, as it indicates how much of a percentage of UV rays are blocked or absorbed before they can reach your skin.
Just because you have skin cancer now doesn't mean that you're doomed to have it again in the future, especially if you start doing what you can to protect your skin now. Talk to a dermatologist if you have further questions or need help purchasing a sunscreen.Share