Carbon Monoxide, a part of cigarette smoke, competes with oxygen by attaching itself to the hemoglobin on the red blood cells. If carbon monoxide is attached to the hemoglobin, oxygen does not have a place to travel through the blood. This results in less oxygen available for the tissues to heal themselves.
Nicotine, a part of cigarettes, is a vasoconstrictor. A vasoconstrictor is a chemical that narrows blood vessels and reduces the flow of blood. When this happens, the body does not receive adequate amounts of nutrients or oxygen to stay healthy or repair itself. When body tissues are injured they require ten times the nutrients and energy of normal tissues to heal. So smoking delays the body's ability to heal itself by preventing an adequate energy and oxygen supply to the wounded tissue.
Tar, a component in cigarette smoke, coats the lining of the lungs and trachea. The body tries to clear this "sticky" product from the lungs by coughing. This is why smokers develop a chronic cough. When the lungs are coated with tar, the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide is inhibited. This means that blood carries a lower concentration of oxygen to the tissues which also slows the healing process.
3 TYPES OF SKIN CANCER
Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)
Most common form of skin cancer. BCC appears as raised, translucent, pearly bumps most often on the head, neck, and hands, or as red scaly patches on the nose and arms.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC)
Appears as elevated, pink to red scaling bumps or patches.
The most deadly form of skin cancer.
The ABCDE's of melanoma:
Asymmetry-one half of a mole does not match the other.
Border- edges are uneven, notched, blurred, or ragged.
Color- color varies from one area to another. Different shades of brown, tan, or black.
Diameter- larger than a pencil eraser (6mm or 1/4"). Any growth is also a concern.
Evolution- is it changing?
If you see any of these skin changes, see your doctor.
For more information go to www.mohscollege.org
PROTECT YOURSELF FROM SKIN CANCER
* Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen everyday with SPF 15 or higher 20 minutes before going outdoors and reapply every two hours. Wear sunscreen even on a cloudy day, roughly 80% of the sun's UV rays pass through the clouds.
* Avoid the sun between 10am and 4pm.
* Wear a wide brimmed hat.
* Select clothes with a tight weave or knit and a light color such as blue. White t-shirts have an SPF of 8 when dry, SPF of 5 when wet.
* Wear long sleeved shirts and pants and choose loose fitting clothing.
* Wear UV-blocking sunglasses to add protection to your eye area.
For more information about dressing for sun protection and preventing skin cancer, call 1-800-skin-490 or go to www.skincancer.org.