February is National Cancer Prevention Month and while we believe in preventing cancer every month, we’re taking a beat to spotlight some of the tips and tricks from our experts at Coastal Dermatology + Aesthetics.
Here are our four ways to help prevent melanoma and nonmelanoma skin cancers:
Use Sun Protection — and use it often
This one may seem obvious, but it is the gold standard and repeated for a reason; protecting your skin from sun exposure works. While limiting the amount of sunlight on your skin is best, daily life can make that impossible.
When you’re unable to avoid exposure, take precautions such as covering your skin and using sunscreen. A daily SPF (of at least 30) can protect you against harmful UV rays that are directly linked to cancer. Even 15 minutes of sun exposure can cause damage, so be sure to get in the habit of applying (and reapplying) every day.
Photodynamic Therapy (PDT)
Photodynamic therapy is a form of therapy that combines light and a topical medication called photosensitizing agents to kill precancerous cells and treat premalignant growths. Like a “seek and destroy mission” – these medications selectively are absorbed into the precancerous cells, when they are exposed to the wavelength of light, they produce a form of oxygen that kills nearby cells; each photosensitizer and wavelength is set very specifically to determine how far the light can travel into the body. Different areas of the body require different wavelengths.
To put it simply, this means abnormal growths can be targeted and killed directly before they turn into something more problematic.
Nicotinamide is a form of vitamin B that can be found in foods rich in niacin (legumes, poultry, nuts, and eggs). The water-soluble B3 offers many benefits when taken supplementary given its anti-inflammatory properties, but perhaps the most significant is its proven cancer-fighting benefits.
In fact, the National Center for Biotechnology Information found that when nicotinamide supplements are taken consistently, they’re able to reduce the rate of new squamous-cell and basal-cell skin cancers by 23% as well as reduce the risk for actinic keratosis, a common precancer.
What you put in your body matters. A diet rich in antioxidant foods (broccoli, spinach, carrots, potatoes, and other vegetables) is not only healthy, but it could also be life-saving. The American Cancer Society found that an antioxidant-rich diet enhances white blood cells and gives them a boost that helps block cell-damaging free radicals, decreasing the risk of developing cancer.
If you need another reason to eat your greens, cancer prevention should be on the top of your list.
While even the most cautious person can develop cancer, staying on top of prevention is still a healthy practice that you and your loved ones can incorporate into your day-to-day routines. For more information on treatments and preventions, give us a call: (805) 544-5567.