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Wise Ways to Protect Yourself from Skin Cancer

By Sandy Schroeder

Here comes the sun, ready or not! After a long winter, most of us are more than ready to soak up some sun, but it is important to have the complete scoop when it comes to skin cancer, according to HarvardHealth.

Recently, Harvard’s Emily S. Ruiz, MD, MPH, said, ”While sunscreen is essential to lowering your risk for skin cancer, there is more to consider in your summer skin protection routine.”

What to Know about Alcohol

Having a brew or a glass of wine by the pool is a natural for summer, but research shows alcohol may be a factor in almost 4 percent of all cancer deaths.

One study showed a 20 percent increase in melanoma in drinkers, and the risk went up with each drink. Another study said basal cell carcinoma increased by 7 percent and squamous cell carcinoma jumped by 11 percent for every beer or glass of wine consumed each day. The American Cancer Society suggests holding alcohol to one drink per day for women, and two drinks per day for men.

What to Consider with Sunscreen

Ruiz says there is no magic wand to eliminate sunburn or skin cancer, so sunscreen needs to be on hand and actually used effectively each time you are outdoors.

Ruiz says, “Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 prior to going out in the sun, reapply every two hours, and apply liberally: one teaspoon to each arm, head and neck, front torso, and back; and two teaspoons to each leg.”

Australian researchers found people who used sunscreen daily had a 50 percent reduction in melanoma and a 40 percent reduction in squamous cell carcinoma, compared to those who only used sunscreen intermittently.

What to Know about Nicotinamide

Dr. Ruiz says nicotinamide is a form of Vitamin B3 that can be purchased over-the-counter, and may help prevent certain skin cancers. Australian skin cancer researchers have shown a 23 percent reduction in the risks of basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma when Vitamin B3 was used to protect the skin from ultraviolet damage from the sun. Ruiz said patients who have major skin damage from the sun may benefit from this vitamin, but it is important to know the vitamin must be taken regularly or its protective benefits will be lost.

As always, when considering changes in vitamins, and approaches to skin protection, start with your physician first. Schedule a visit for the whole family that includes a discussion on skin cancer protection, and then enjoy your summer.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Madison, Wis.

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