'An adequate dose of sun helps prevent skin cancer through the synthesis of vitamin D, a natural protector.'
What you need to know about skin cancer
The most common cause of skin cancer is exposure to ultraviolet rays of sunlight. About 90% of skin cancer cases, excluding melanoma, are associated with exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun.
Therefore, most often affected open areas of the skin, which are more insolated. The prevalence is highest among outdoor workers, athletes, and sun bathers and is inversely related to content in the skin of melanin. So patients with fair skin are most at risk.
Skin cancer is characterized by the development of various pathological conditions. Skin cancer often occurs on the background of burns, rough scars, in places of chronic trauma. Malignant skin tumors can also develop years after radiation therapy. Patients who take immunosuppressive therapy and certain types of targeted therapy also have an increased risk of developing the disease.
It should be noted that the risk of skin cancer increases with age.
To identify early forms of skin cancer, it is recommended that everyone conduct a skin examination from head to toe once a month.
Important: Skin cancer is easy to treat in the early stages. The larger the tumor, the more voluminous the treatment. Although skin cancers rarely spread to vital organs, they can cause severe deformities and sometimes lead to injuries to nerves or muscles. Some rare, aggressive forms can be fatal if you do not take urgent measures at an early stage.
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DID YOU KNOW YOU COULD DO A SELF EXAMINATION TO DETECT SKIN CANCER?
How to conduct a self-examination and what to look for?
Non-healing wound. An open wound that bleeds, sags, or crusts without healing for more than 2 weeks, despite treatment. A wound that heals and then bleeds again. A non-healing wound is a very common sign of skin cancer.
The presence of a long-lasting reddish spot or local irritation , which is more common on the face, chest, shoulders, arms or legs. Sometimes the stain becomes crusty. Also, the stain may itch or hurt, or be present without discomfort.
The appearance of a tubercle or node. Coloring is often pearly or light, often with a pink, red tint. The tubercle can also be brown, black, especially in the dark-haired population, it can be confused with the usual nevus (mole).
The formation of a pink color with a slightly raised undercut border and a depression in the center. As they grow slowly, tiny blood vessels may appear on the surface.
A scar-like area, white, yellow, or waxy, often has poorly defined borders. The skin itself looks shiny and supple. This warning sign may indicate the presence of infiltrative growth in the surrounding tissue when the true size of the tumor is larger than the visible boundaries.
NB: If you find any of these signs or other disturbing changes in the skin, be sure to consult a doctor!
Important : Remember that sometimes early skin cancer resembles non-cancerous skin diseases such as psoriasis or eczema. Only a doctor with special knowledge of skin diseases and the necessary equipment can make the correct diagnosis.
SKIN CANCER: SUNLIGHT?
The threat of skin cancer has caused a kind of sun phobia that can be counterproductive, because the star is paradoxically one of the main allies we have to prevent it through the synthesis of vitamin D in the skin.
To protect yourself effectively, you should have a healthy diet, rich in certain nutrients and, above all, befriend the sun. It is worth establishing a good relationship with him, since numerous studies - such as those carried out by Jean Y. Tang at Stanford University (United States) - have confirmed that adequate exposure to his rays helps prevent cancer.
VITAMIN D IS THE BEST NATURAL PROTECTION AGAINST THE SUN'S RAYS
Creams do not protect as much as believed. The idea has been spread that sunscreen creams are our main protection, but several various scientific studies, such as the one carried out by the team of Dr. Roger Marais at the University of Manchester, show that they do not reduce the incidence.
The reasons for the ineffectiveness are several. On the one hand, people have the feeling that if they put the cream on they are invulnerable and the hours spent in the sun are increased. The consequence is that instead of protecting themselves they increase your risk of cancer.
SUN CREAMS REDUCE VITAMIN D PRODUCTION
Another consequence is that vitamin D levels in the body precisely decrease. This vitamin has shown its ability to prevent various types of cancer, including skin cancer.
Third, the chemical reactions that occur between the components of synthetic sunscreens and the sun release more free radicals than they absorb, so the paradoxical effect is that they increase the risk of cancer.
Compounds like oxybenzone, present in most conventional sunscreens, are associated with allergies, hormonal disruption, cell injury and low weight in babies whose mothers were exposed during pregnancy.
Other ingredients, such as octinoxate and camphor 4-methylbenzylidene, are endocrine disruptors related to imbalances that can also lead to cancer. Even a form of vitamin A that is added to the filter, retinyl palmitate, acts as a photocarcinogen, since under the action of light it accelerates the development of tumors and other lesions.
Children, pregnant women, and people with sensitive or injured skin (with scars, burns, eczema, and areas of inflammation) are probably more vulnerable to all these risk-increasing processes.
TYPES OF SKIN CANCER
Different types of cancer, more or less severe, can develop on the skin.
The basal cell carcinomas (75% of all skin tumors) originate on basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas or epidermoid (20%), on keratinocytes. Between the two they constitute the majority of "non-melanoma skin cancers" (NSCLC), which very rarely represent a vital risk for the person suffering from them. Their biological ability to metastasize and their aggressiveness are limited, and they are usually well controlled with surgery.
The cells called melanocytes are the producers of the melanin pigment, the amount of which is in accordance with the skin of each race and the intensity of exposure to the sun. They protect us from ultraviolet (UV) rays, they increase with solar tanning and when they form small benign accumulations they constitute freckles, the spots of pregnancy or age.
But they can also be malignant and lead to melanoma , a tumor with devastating potential when it is not removed early.
OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH THE SUN
Each person responds differently to solar radiation, depending on the phototype and other individual factors.
A spectrum of sensitivity has been established in which at one end are people with very light skin, with a very low number of melanocytes, who have a hard time tanning and burn easily.
At the other extreme are people with dark skin, with a large number of melanocytes and very resistant to sun exposure.
Other factors related to exposure are:
- The time of year and the state of the ozone layer (which varies according to the time of year and climatic changes).
- The time of day (around midday, levels of ultraviolet type B occur, while in the morning and late afternoon the sun's rays cross the atmosphere obliquely and their intensity is much lower).
- Latitude (strongest at the equator).
- The high d above sea level (the lower the atmosphere, the greater the exposure).
- Weather conditions and atmospheric turbidity (clouds reduce the radiation level but do not eliminate it, even if it is not hot).
- The reflected light (water, snow, sand, make it possible to receive an appreciable amount of radiation even in the shade).
It is true that excessive exposure to ultraviolet radiation and sunburn are related to the incidence of skin cancers. However, it is also true that melanoma is more common in people who work indoors and commonly occurs in areas not exposed to sunlight.
It is also true that a certain degree of exposure is beneficial and protective.
THE SUN HAS A POSITIVE SIDE
Sun baths, well performed, are extremely beneficial: they improve the immune response, lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, show a beneficial effect on the respiratory, cardiovascular and metabolic levels and promote the synthesis of vitamin D.
Specifically, although UVB radiation may be at the origin of cases of cancers as a consequence of burns, when received in moderation it can slow down the appearance of melanoma if the person suffers from a genetic predisposition or is prone to skin cancer, perhaps because it helps to produce vitamin D.
The active form of vitamin D (D3 or cholecalciferol) is known to have powerful anticancer, antioxidant, and beneficial effects on the nervous, muscular, and immune systems.
VITAMIN D DEFICIENCY IS VERY COMMON
The majority of the population has low concentrations of vitamin D as a consequence of insufficient sun exposure and the excessive use of sunscreens, already incorporated regularly in facial creams.
This deficiency may be linked to an increased risk of mortality from around twenty diseases, including cancer. Therefore, from a preventive point of view, it is a priority to promote the synthesis of vitamin D in the skin through reasonable sun exposure.
HOW TO SUNBATHE WELL
Being aware of our skin type, we must choose the time and duration of exposure: in summer, avoid the central hours of the day (from 12 to 18) and gradually increase the duration to increase the synthesis of protective melanin.
Theoretically, exposing yourself to the sun daily without protection for 5 to 10 minutes is enough for the skin to synthesize enough vitamin D, but this can vary depending on skin type and other factors. For
this reason, it should also be obtained from food (in sun-dried mushrooms and enriched products) and in certain cases, if the doctor considers it necessary, from supplements.
Some foods play an important protective role in skin cancer, including melanoma:
- Beta-carotene, a pigment found in carrots, apricots and other orange foods, stimulates melanin and its antioxidant effect protects the skin.
- Vitamins C and E as well as polyphenols in green tea are also beneficial.
- Turmeric and omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory effects that reduce the risk of cancer.
- Garlic and onion also have a great anti-inflammatory effect.
HOW TO USE CREAMS
If acute exposure cannot be avoided, the use of creams is justified, especially during childhood and adolescence. It is advisable to resort to products with physical mineral filters such as zinc oxide that protect both from UVA rays - those that most abundantly reach the earth's surface - and from UVB, if possible with some certification of natural cosmetics.
The cream (factor 15 or higher) is applied every two hours or after swimming or sweating. On the other hand, you should not forget to wear hats, sunglasses, appropriate clothing and put yourself in the shade whenever possible.
Skin cancer, like many other diseases, can be avoided without extreme or strange measures, simply with a balanced behavior inside and outside the home.
Vitamin D: how much sun do you need to avoid deficits?
Contact/whatsapp: +22990431725 For more informations