Massage Therapists on the Front Lines of the Battle Against Skin Cancer

Massage Therapy VolunteersMassage therapists cannot diagnose skin cancer, but they can serve to help detect issues early. Because massage therapists come in direct contact with the skin, and most people do not check their own skin for signs of cancer, therapists may be able to detect these signs early. If a massage therapist does notice something, a spot for example, they can then inform the client and suggest that the client follows up with a dermatologist. Early detection of skin cancer is the best precursor to more successful treatment.

With summer just around the corner, people all around the country start to trade in their coats and jeans for T-shirts and shorts as they gear up for all the warm weather activities they’ve been missing. Unfortunately, while many Americans remember the beach balls and sunglasses, they forget something even more important—sunscreen.

According to the American Cancer Society, more than 3.5 million Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer every year. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States and is caused by extended exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) estimates that more than 8,500 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with skin cancer each day, and 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime.

The No. 1 risk factor for skin cancer is extended exposure to UV rays, which means exposure by being out in the sun or underneath a tanning lamp. After that, pale skin, multiple or unusual moles, and family history all play a role. Finally, prior severe sunburns and a weakened immune system can be contributing factors as well.

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