How to Prevent recurrent head and neck cancer|Squamous Cell Skin Cancer
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the U.S., affecting about 3.5 million Americans annually. The two most common types, basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas, are highly curable. Melanoma, the rarer type, is also the most deadly and difficult to treat. All types of skin cancer, particularly squamous cell, are preventable to a great extent by reducing your exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light.
Avoid exposure to arsenic. UV radiation is not the only thing that can cause skin diseases such as squamous cell cancer — exposure to toxic or poisonous compounds (such as arsenic) also increases the cancer risk. Arsenic doesn't have to come in contact with the skin, as ingesting it also increases the risk of skin cancers.
It's possible to be exposed to arsenic from well water, pesticides, herbicides, insecticides and some medicines (arsenic may have some medicinal value in tiny amounts).
People who work in mining and smelting are at greater risk of arsenic exposure.
Don't put coal tar on your skin. Another compound that should be avoided because it increases the risk of squamous cell skin cancer is coal tar, which is found in medicinal shampoos and creams meant for treating psoriasis and head lice. Coal tar is a byproduct of coal processing that's a potential carcinogen despite its medicinal uses.
Coal tar products can relieve dryness, redness, flaking and itching of skin, but at the cost of increasing cancer risk.
Paracetamol (acetaminophen) is a popular coal-tar derived painkiller that should be avoided if you have a history of skin cancer.
Be very cautious with industrial chemicals. Other industrial compounds can also raise your risk of squamous cell carcinoma — either by getting them directly on your skin or by inhaling their fumes. Examples include asbestos, benzene, silica, certain mineral oils and paint solvents. If you need to handle these compounds, always we