Technology and Tips help to Manage the Threat of Skin Cancer

Summertime is here; holidays are approaching, and cheap flights are rampant. This time of year is prevalent for travelers to roam about and enjoy their long-awaited vacation. But amongst the relaxation and basking on the shores of a tropical beach, one should always bear in mind the constant predator within the sky – the sun.

A recent study in the UK has determined that over the decades the skin cancer rates have soared at an alarming rate and the highest numbers reflect that men and young adults are the most affected. The study also showed the increasing number of cases pertaining to melanoma cancer. Melanoma or also known as malignant melanoma, is a form of skin cancer developed due to melanocytes cells or the pigment-containing cells. Globally, it was projected that there was a 7.7% increase in cases of this type of skin cancer in 2019. In the U.K alone, there has been 29 cases out of 100,000 – a steady 6% increase from the years prior with numbers possibly rising.

Although a lifetime of cumulative exposure to sun is the immediate major component to developing skin cancer, unbeknownst to vacationers, intermittent exposure is enough to increase the risk of melanoma. President of the Skin Cancer Foundation, Deborah S. Sarnoff, mentioned,

“The kind of intense sun exposure that comes with tropical vacations is especially dangerous, so even those who are dedicated to protecting their skin need to be extra cautious. Avoiding sunburn is a key part of reducing your risk of developing melanoma.”

With that in mind it is ever more necessary to cautiously be mindful of the dangerous effects of UV waves and radiation. Researchers of the Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey were fully aware of the enormity that skin cancer can pose. Therefore, in 2019, they developed a way to detect early signs of skin lesions that can determine if they are cancerous or benign. The idea is to incorporate this technology with a handheld device that can present an instant diagnosis compared to its conventional way using a scalpel. The team uses millimeter-wave radiation technology, similar to the one used at security check points in airports, in order to detect lesions. Combining such innovative technology with a simple device will also make the product cost-effective and easily affordable and accessible for most hospitals and medical facilities.

Although such a technological is unprecedented and is most needed, in the meantime, simple preventative measures from experts can easily be taken to avoid the effects of harsh UV radiation. For example:

When the sun is at its strongest, seek shade.

Wear clothing or eyewear to protect yourself from the sun.

Apply and reapply sunscreen regularly. Use one that has a Sun Protection Factor of at least 15.

Regardless of how elementary the advice can be, taking every precaution to protect one’s skin from the harsh effects of the sun is most ideal when faced with the serious possible dangers that are associated with skin cancer.

References:

  1. Skin cancer risk ‘not just from holiday sun’, July 2019, BBC Health
  2. Researchers to develop handheld device to diagnose skin cancer, June 2019, Medical Express
  3. Skin Cancer, Facts and Statistics, SkinCancer
  4. The Skin Cancer Foundation Announces a New Approach to Early Detection with the ‘Big See’, June 2019, SkinCancer