Cancer is a condition where one type of cell grows without limit in a disorganized fashion, disrupting and replacing normal tissues and their functions, much like weeds overgrowing a garden. There are three main forms of skin cancer — Basal Cell Carcinoma, Squamous Cell Carcinoma and Melanoma. Basal Cell and Squamous Cell cancers are curable. Melanoma is also completely curable when detected early, but can be fatal if allowed to progress and spread. Melanoma is a cancer of the pigment-producing cells in the skin, known as melanocytes. Normal melanocytes reside in the outer layer of the skin and produce the brown pigment melanin, which is responsible for the colour of our skin. Melanoma describes melanocytes that become cancerous, grow, and invade other tissues.
Sunburns can increase your chances of skin cancer so take precautions when exposed to high levels of sun.
If you notice a difference in colour in your skin or bumps make an appointment with a dermatologist or oncologist to get them checked out. A general practitioner will also be able to point you in the right direction. Seek help as soon as you notice something as cancers can grow and complicate extremely rapidly. A few days or weeks will make a difference.
Sunburns arise as a result of invisible ultraviolet (UV) rays. UV rays hit the body and damage any cells exposed, including skin, hair, and eye cells. UV rays are emitted even when there is cloud cover so protection is necessary at all times.
Sun damage is visible as red, painful sunburns. Bad sunburns can lead to skin cancer later in life as well as wrinkles, freckles, age spots, dilated blood vessels, and general ageing of the skin.
Use a sunscreen that has at least an SPF of 15. SPF is a measure of what level of UV rays are absorbed by the sunscreen; the higher the SPF the more rays absorbed and thus, the higher level of protection. Always follow the manufacturer’s suggestions for reapplication throughout the day. Always wear sunglasses and a hat when outside.
* RFH has covered some but not all of the conditions that are likely to pop up on tour. For most of the information, we used MedlinePlus. MedlinePlus has a ton of information from very reputable sources and has tons of external links for more information. If you ever have a question it never hurts to call a doctor. Catching a condition early may mean preventing complications and saving thousands of dollars! Take care of yourself- there are thousands of fans across the country (and several band members) waiting to see you get on stage!