Living on the Central Coast affords us ample opportunity to spend time outdoors and potentially overexpose ourselves to UV rays. Sun exposure and fair skin are risk factors for squamous cell carcinoma, a common form of skin cancer.
According to an article in the International Journal of Dermatology 7 to 11% of fair skinned people in America will be diagnosed with this form of cancer in their lifetime.
The good news is that we can potentially reduce our risk of this type of skin cancer by including foods high in vitamin A in our diet. Vitamin A can be separated into two categories: preformed and provitamin A.
Preformed or retinol and its derivatives are found in animal-based foods such as eggs yolks, fish, organ meats and dairy.
Provitamin A or carotenoids are plant-based and are found in green leafy vegetables and orange or yellow vegetables like carrots or winter squash.
Fruits like cantaloupe, apricots, and mangos are also good sources of vitamin A. Vitamin A is fat soluble, which means excess amounts are stored in our body fat.
Too much can cause heartaches, muscles aches, dizziness and other symptoms and in severe cases may lead to coma or death.
So it is important to discuss healthy ways to add this important nutrient into your nutrition plan with a registered dietitian.
Things to consider about exercise and reducing our risk of skin cancer include reducing our sun exposure. Try to avoid exercising during the peak hours of the day 10 a.m to 4 p.m and during UV index readings above six.
If you are exercising during those times be sure to take precautions like earing UV protective hats and clothing or applying broad spectrum SPF 30+ sunscreen every two hours and after swimming or sweating.
Exercising helps boost our immune system and fight against cancer cells in our body.
Let’s be smart about it and do it without increasing our risk of developing skin cancer.
For more information and practical suggestions, please join Kylie Conner, RD and John Malinowski, ACSM-CET, at our First Steps in Nutrition and Exercise class on Tuesday, May 9 at 2 p.m which will feature tips on how to minimize risk of skin cancer through appropriate nutrition and physical activity.
Please call for reservations at 805-346-3413.
HAVE A QUESTION? This weekly column produced by Marian Regional Medical Center. We invite you to submit your questions to “Your Cancer Answers” at the following email address: MHCC@commonspirit.org