Being diagnosed with any sort of cancer is something that many people dread, as there's no way it can be seen as anything other than devastating news. With skin cancer, the good news is that survival rates are very high, with treatment usually expected to be successful.
If you're a skin cancer survivor, you've most likely been through a traumatic experience that you hope never to repeat, although the relief from being given a clean bill of health is a wonderful feeling.
Once you've been given the all-clear, it's important to take good care of your health, particularly as people who have had skin cancer once are more likely to get it again. Follow these tips to keep yourself healthy.
Get to know your skin
When you discovered a sign you might have had skin cancer, it was most likely a mark on your skin or a mole that had changed. This should have taught you the importance of being aware, and it's even more important as a skin cancer survivor.
Try to get into a routine of checking your skin over periodically, taking note of any moles you have and the way your skin normally looks. This will enable you to spot immediately if something isn't right so you can get it checked out without delay.
Be smart in the sunshine
Skin cancer is normally caused by sun exposure, so it's more important than ever to take precautions whenever you're outside. Use a high SPF sun cream when you're spending any time in the sun, and consider covering up with clothing and hats for extra protection.
It's also best to avoid sun exposure during the hottest part of the day, which is typically between 12 and 3 pm, especially during summer or if you live in a hot country.
While checking your skin and avoiding excessive sunlight are the most effective ways to reduce your risk, your diet can also be helpful.
Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables to get a full range of essential vitamins and antioxidants. Nuts and seeds are also useful, and green tea has also been shown to have great cancer-prevention properties.
Know your other risk factors
As a skin cancer survivor, you're unfortunately already at a higher risk than normal, but there are other factors that might increase the risk further. These include being light-skinned, having had a lot of sun exposure during childhood, and taking certain drugs, such as those for organ transplant patients. Understanding how high your risk is helps you adjust your lifestyle to keep yourself safe and well.
Contact a skin cancer clinic in your area for additional advice.