Hot weather! KKU doctor warns “long time in the sun” risks skin cancer or not, and gives clue for protection against UV

Khon Kaen’s extremely hot weather, with the temperature reaching 43 degrees Celcius on someday is not something to laugh at, especially among those who have to be or work in the sun. For some, going out in the sun feels like scorching. Is this dangerous and is there a risk of skin cancer or not? Assoc. Prof. Suteeraporn Chaowatanapanit, M.D., a dermatologist of the Excellence Helath Center, Faculty of Medicine, Khon Kaen University, has the answers.

Assoc. Prof. Suteeraporn stated that skin cancer is caused by many factors, but the principle cause is from ultraviolet (UV). There are 2 types of UV found on the earth crust: UVB and UVA. When UV enters the skin, it destroys DNA in the skin cells, causing mutation that in turn leads to abnormal growth that finally becomes skin cancer.

Besides, there can be other factors such as receiving chemicals, especially arsenic acid. This, if happens for a long time, can cause skin cancer. There is also a hereditary factor; if there is the history of a family member having skin cancer, then the chance is higher for other members to develop it. Another factor is from the ethnic group, especially the white people, blond-hair people, who risk developing skin cancer more than those with dark skin; for melanin pigment, which helps protect the skin from UV is less in white people than dark people. Moreover, low immunity that happens from infection or from taking immune-suppressants can lead to risk of skin cancer.

“UV is in the sun. The more it is sunny, the more UV there is. UV varies directly with development of skin cancer. Even though there is no empirical data, but staying ling in the sun for once until sunburn develops is another risk of skin cancer, just lime staying in the sun for a short period, but often.”

How can we check if we have “skin cancer”?

Assoc. Prof. Suteeraporn stated that the symptom of skin cancer does not normally sjow. Therefore, everyone should regularly check. A patient will have a bump or lump that grows fast. The bump will harden, break and become a wound. Or a patient has chronic sore. The patient should see the doctor as soon as possible. In case there is a rash, a black or dark brown bump with unequal colors just like a mole that grows too quickly and the colors are not consistent, then the patient should see a dermatologist at once.
If someone develops skin cancer and does not receive treatment, the cancer may expand to the skin nearby until there are chronic wounds, infection and ache. This can later deform the skin area after the patient decides to receive treatment.

“In addition, skin cancer is dangerous, for it spreads to other organs. If it spreads to the lung, then the patient can gasp and pant, and there is a chance of death. Therefore, the patient should see the doctor as soon as possible for a good quality of life by removing the cancer and preventing from the cancer spreading to other organs.”
How to protect against UV on an extremely sunny day?
Assoc. Prof. Suteeraporn added about how to protect against UV in the sun. The best solution is to avoid the sun as much as possible, especially during 10:00 a.m. until 16:00, for this period is the hottest period with a lot of UV. So everyone should stay in the shade.

If you cannot avoid it, then regularly apply sunscreen cream. Select the sunblock that protects against both UVB and UVA. The sunblock should also be waterproof, for it will still works when you sweat. Moreover, the cream should contain SPF, or something that show the capacity to prevent UVB, which should be at 30 or more. If you have to stay in the sun for a long time, and you sweat a lot, then apply the sunblock every 2 hours. It is recommended to wear long-sleeve shirt and pants. Wear sun glasses, use an umbrella, or wear a wide-brim hat to protect against UV.

Just recently, the number of patients diagnosed with skin cancer is increasing, according to Assoc. Prof. Suteeraporn. Nevertheless, in case someone is diagnosed with skin cancer, treatment depends on the type and stage of the disease. If it is at the beginning, recommendation is for removing all of the cancer. In case the removal is not possible, treatment can rely on radiation or cauterization together with scraping, or cryotherapy. However, if the cancer is at the spreading stage, it has to be operated and chemotherapy and radiation may also be required, with prescription of targeted medicine.

There are specialists and equipment at Srinagarind Hospital for overall treatment of the patients with cancer, from diagnosis by dermatologists to treatment. If it is not possible for the operation to remove all the cancer, then there is the integration of treatment with plastic surgery. Patients at the spreading stage can receive treatment from all cancer specialists.

News: Phanit Khatnak



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