Whilst we haven’t seen very much of the sun so far this year, summer is approaching and lots of us will soon be travelling to spend some time soaking up the sun as we relax on the beach. Whilst this does give us a boost of vitamin D, it also exposes us to the harmful effects of ultraviolet rays. We all like the healthy glow of a sun kissed tan, but are we putting ourselves at risk?
In the UK, the most common cancer is skin cancer. Thankfully the majority of these are the less worrying benign skin cancers, but we mustn’t forget the more concerning malignant melanoma. Whilst melanoma is the least common type of skin cancer it is by far the most serious as it can spread to other organs in the body.
Each year we are seeing up to 10,000 new cases in the UK, and the major risk factor is sun damage.
To try and prevent melanoma, we therefore must all take precautions and prevent excessive exposure to the sun. I’m sure everyone remembers the ‘Slip, Slop, Slap’ campaign, but to remind us some tips to help include;
- Wearing sun cream with a high SPF – remember to reapply regularly.
- Covering up when out in the sunshine.
- Avoiding the sun between 11am and 3pm.
If you have a mole that you are concerned about, it is important to book an appointment and have it checked as soon as possible. The earlier sun damage is detected, the more successful treatment can be.
Worrying signs to look out for which could suggest melanoma include;
- Irregular edge without symmetry
- Irregular colour – A health mole is usually one shade
- Increasing in size
You may want to have your moles photographed so you can monitor change – we are happy to refer you for this.
Remember the tips above and enjoy the sunshine…safely!More