Skin cancer: Protect from the sun from an early age

Skin cancer: Protect from the sun from an early age

Ensure adequate sun protection for children
On summer vacation but also at home, parents should ensure that their children have adequate sun protection. Already five childhood sunburns double the risk of skin cancer in adulthood, as Johannes Neuhofer, Vice President of the Medical Association for Upper Austria (OÖÄK) and head of the specialist group of Upper Austrian dermatologists told "volksblatt.at". New birthmarks and spots should be examined by a specialist once a year. The earlier skin cancer is discovered, the better the chances of recovery.

Black skin cancer can be fatal
Skin cancer screening can save lives. Because the small black spots on the skin are not always harmless. It can be dangerous black skin cancer, malignant melanoma, which tends to metastasize and can be fatal to those affected. White skin cancer is considered less dangerous than black skin, but must also be removed as early as possible.

Doctors distinguish between two forms of white skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. Basal cell carcinoma occurs most frequently, according to the German Cancer Aid. This type of cancer usually becomes noticeable around the age of 50. First of all, a small, skin-colored knot forms, which can be accompanied by small, rough spots that do not heal and repeatedly bleed or itch.

Squamous cell carcinoma (also spiked cell cancer) affects men more often than women. This type of cancer usually develops from a precancer, the so-called "actinic keratosis". Skin areas that are often exposed to the sun, such as the face, neck and back of the hands, are particularly affected. As the German Cancer Aid reports, squamous cell carcinoma is a relatively sharply defined redness that occurs again and again.

Doctors advise having birthmarks and stains checked once a year. In Germany alone, up to 200,000 people develop new skin cancer every year, according to the German Cancer Society. The German Cancer Aid even assumes 234,000 new cases. More than 20,000 diagnoses concern dangerous black skin cancer.

Intensive sunbathing is considered the main cause of skin cancer
Skin cancer is often the result of intensive sunbathing without adequate sun protection. Not every skin type is equally susceptible. Those who have fair skin and are prone to sunburn have the highest risk of skin cancer. Nevertheless, even people with a dark complexion should never forego adequate sun protection.

“The skin has a memory like an elephant. Five childhood sunburns double the risk of developing melanoma as an adult, ”says Neuhofer. Parents should therefore ensure that their children are adequately protected. This includes a hat and clothing that covers the body if possible, as well as sunscreen with a high sun protection factor. In the midday heat, when the sun is most intense between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., children should not be in the sun. (ag)

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