Some of your favorite things might include lounging in the sunshine with friends, frolicking in the water, and eating delicious but not-so-healthy foods.
These are enjoyable in the moment and might even make great memories. What they also do, though, is increase your risk of cancer, melanoma in particular.
Melanoma refers to a variety of skin cancers, some more serious than others. No matter the type, you don’t want the diagnosis attached to your medical problems.
What Does it Mean to Have Risk Factors?
The risk factors in your life increase your chance of developing melanoma. The more risk factors you have, the higher the likelihood of skin cancer. It’s not an exact science, and many people at high risk never get the disease, while others with low or no risk do.
However, you don’t want to play the odds and lose with a disease like melanoma. To reduce the chance of developing skin cancer, watch out for these four risks and avoid them when possible.
1. Sun Exposure
Experts recommend getting your daily dose of Vitamin D and fresh air, but this healthy habit can turn deadly if you’re not careful.
One of the best ways to absorb Vitamin D is through sunshine. Breathing fresh, pure oxygenated air is also excellent for your lungs and circulation.
The problem is that the same solution for these two things increases your risk of cancer if you don’t protect your skin.
Before you head outside, slather on SPF protection to defend against the harmful UV rays and invisible free radicals floating in the air. You can get the vitamins and oxygen you need without spiking your odds of melanoma.
Right behind UV rays and free radicals for melanoma danger is smoking.
You know smoking is linked to significantly higher chances of developing lung cancer, but you might not have realized it’s connected to skin cancer, too.
In fact, this bad habit more than triples your risk of getting squamous cell carcinoma, one of the most common varieties of melanoma.
The theory is that smoking damages your DNA and interferes with healthy cell regeneration and reproduction.
Can You Still Smoke Weed?
This means smoking anything, whether it’s cigarettes or marijuana. For tobacco smokers, your only healthy option is to quit.
Weed smokers have other choices. If you want to get your cannabis fix, you can vape or use edibles, topicals, and concentrates instead. You still absorb the benefits of marijuana without the risks associated with smoking.
3. Excessive Moles
You’d be hard-pressed to find a single person on this planet who doesn’t have at least one mole. These skin features are extremely common and gradually appear in children and young adults.
However, a mole is, by definition, a benign pigmented tumor. Benign means your moles are naturally non-cancerous but could turn into melanoma. Because of this, the more moles you have, the greater your risk of skin cancer.
If you know what you’re looking for, you can watch your moles for signs they’re not normal. Atypical moles look like regular moles but are larger. They often have odd shapes or colors and appear on oft-exposed skin, scalp, or buttocks.
Maybe They’re Born With It?
Occasionally, a baby will be born with moles. These are congenital melanocytic nevi. For the most part, these are harmless. The bigger the mole is, the greater the risk of it turning cancerous later.
Another sign that this skin feature could cause problems is its location. Anything large that occurs on the back and buttocks should be monitored closely, as these tend to have increased chances of becoming melanoma.
4. Your Diet
Studies show that certain ingredients are connected with an increased risk of melanoma.
Your diet is intricately linked to your health. Eating unhealthily doesn’t affect you immediately but creates a compound effect of factors that cause diseases like diabetes, cardiac problems, hypertension, and, as we now know, cancer.
Scientific research discovered positive relationships between melanoma and certain foods’ consumption. People who eat cereal, cereal products, sweets, chocolate, candy bars, and cabbage are more likely to develop skin cancer.
On the other hand, eating legumes, onion, garlic, and eggs reduces the risk factor rate.
These studies suggest that if you’d like to prevent melanoma, you should cut out refined flours and sugars and increase your intake of eggs, legumes, and olive oil.
We all want to decrease the odds of developing cancer, but if you don’t know what they are, you could be hurting yourself without realizing it.
Consider these four high-risk factors for melanoma, and be careful about how you allow them into your life. With this knowledge, you can substantially reduce your chances of getting skin cancer.