Sunscreen use key for protection against skin cancer

By Abdellatif Sharaa

KUWAIT: Secretary General of Gulf Federation for Cancer Control Dr Khalid Ahmad Al-Saleh urged people to use sun protection creams with SPF 15 or higher when getting exposed to the sun for long periods of time to reduce cancer risk. Saleh was speaking at a workshop held by the federation and sponsored by Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences and in cooperation with the National Campaign for Cancer Awareness (CAN) to discuss means of skin cancer treatment, with an emphasis on radiation and surgical treatments.

Dr Al-Saleh said that the most dangerous skin cancer, called melanoma, first develops in the melanocytes that produce the melanin pigment that gives the skin its color. Signs of melanoma, he said, includes a non-painful knot that has the same color as the body or a bluish red color. The knots appear on this skin, including the scalp, face, lips, ears and rarely affect the body parts on the inside. He said skin cancer develops mainly in areas of skin exposed to the sun for long periods without taking protective precautions against the scorching and harmful sun rays in the form of ultra-violet, especially at midday.

Precautions include the use of protection creams with SPF 15 or higher, and the use of hats and umbrellas during these times. Exposure to the sun could also lead to skin aging and the appearance of wrinkles, freckles and pigmentation. He also warned against being exposed to tanning beds that emit harmful UV rays. Symptoms to look out for Skin cancers are treatable if discovered early, especially after accelerated developments in the medical, technical and treatment fields used in the latest years, said Dr Al-Saleh.

KUWAIT: Participants and attendees are seen at the workshop held to discuss means of cancer treatment.

He said awareness of the factors that contribute to getting cancer plays an important role in reducing cancer incidence which cannot be ignored. Symptoms can be recognized easily by noticing any change in skin color. People should also watch out for any swelling or lumps. When cancer is discovered the tumor stage will be determined and suitable treatment will be prescribed for the stage. For example, superficial skin cancer such as Basal Cell Carcinoma rarely spreads, and the biopsy that removes the entire tumor is often the only necessary test to determine the cancer stage.

Other treatments include radiation and surgical procedures to remove the tumor. Surgical Oncologist Dr Mohammad Khalid spoke about surgical treatment of skin cancer, adding that the rate of skin cancer conditions in Kuwait between Kuwaitis and non-Kuwaitis of both genders is low and is not on the list of the 10 most common cancers for 15 years. Skin cancer was highest on the list of common cancers among Kuwaiti men from 1979 until 1983, and the highest cases in Kuwait women occurred from 1974 until 1978.

As for non-Kuwaiti men, skin cancer was in among the top 10 widespread cancers from 1974-1993, and the same for women. Dr Khalid said squamous cell carcinoma makes up 23 percent of non-melanoma skin cancer cases and basal cell carcinoma makes up 74 percent. Squamous cell carcinoma amounts to 40 percent of cancers affecting the lymph nodes, while melanomas make up 2 percent of all tumors.

The post Sunscreen use key for protection against skin cancer appeared first on Kuwait Times.

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