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How to Spot Skin Cancer Signs and Symptoms

How to Spot Skin Cancer Signs and Symptoms

Skin cancer can develop primarily in an area which is exposed to the sun. But it is possible that it can also develop in an area which is not exposed to the sun. It can affect people of all skin tones.

Most of us have at least a few moles or skin discolorations on our bodies (many of us have more than a few), and it is sensible to keep an eye on them. But if you don’t know the original skin cancer signs and symptoms you may miss something important, or equally, you may worry about something that is entirely harmless.

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Number of Moles

Doctors use some methods when they check your moles and before they advise referral to a cancer specialist. The first will be to check and see how many moles you have as this is indicative of the amount of time you have spent in the sun across your lifetime and the heredity impact that your skin color has had on your mole count. If you are pale, you will have more moles and therefore a higher skin cancer risk. More than 10 moles on one arm indicates a greater than average risk.

ABCDE

Doctors also use the primary ABCDE method and it is easy for us to do this at home too.

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  • Asymmetrical – If you folded your mole in half would the sides match? If not it may require further investigation.
  • Borders – Is the border irregular or ragged? It indicates that the mole is bleeding into the surrounding tissue and it should be checked.
  • Colour – Is your mole more than one color? Most moles are one shade, if yours has more than two, get it checked.
  • Diameter – Healthy moles tend to be small. If yours is larger than 2mm or it has grown very quickly, have your doctor take a look.
  • Evolution – Has your mole changed at all? Has it started to bleed, crust over, get itchy or change in any way? If so, have it looked at.

Comparing Moles

Your doctor may also examine your mole with pictures they have on file or with their experience. You can easily do this at home too. There are many sources of skin cancer pictures online that you can compare with your mole. A typical mole will normally be flat and round and a medium brown to black color.

But you shouldn’t stop there. You should also keep a close watch on your mole and take photos of it to compare at a later date to identify changes. It will also greatly help your doctor if you have these pictures to show. Changes in moles may take many months to show and can be tricky to spot.

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Avoidance is the Best Cure

Of course, keeping your skin healthy is the best start when it comes to skin cancer. We recommend staying out of the sun unless you are wearing a sunscreen, clothing and a hat. Avoid the hottest part of the day and remember that if you are pale, you will burn more quickly. You can, however, get around 10-15 minutes in the sun per day to build up your vitamin D levels.

Checking for skin cancer signs and symptoms may be relatively easy to do at home, but you should still see your doctor if you have any concerns. Some skin cancers grow under the skin where they cannot be seen and therefore may be harder to spot. So regular check-ups are a great idea if you are at risk.

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If there is any change in the skin that you are unable to explain then, you should be worried. You should make an appointment with the doctor without any delay. It is possible that skin cancer does not cause the change so seeing a doctor will help in determining the cause of the change and treat it accordingly.

Featured photo credit: Adam Gray via dailymail.co.uk

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Adnan Manzoor

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Last Updated on August 12, 2019

12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory and brain power:

1. Nuts

The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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2. Blueberries

Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

3. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

4. Broccoli

While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

6. Soy

Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

7. Dark Chocolate

When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate: 15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

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Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

9. Foods Rich in Zinc

Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

10. Gingko Biloba

This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

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However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

11. Green and Black Tea

Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

Find out more about green tea here: 11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

12. Sage and Rosemary

Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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