Skin Cancer – Don’t follow the crowd at the risk of your own health

I want to start with some short, hard hitting facts which will hopefully make you read this short and possibly life saving article.

  • Skin Cancer is the most common cancer in women aged between 24-29 with Melanoma rates having risen 800% in the last four decades.
  • ONE indoor tanning session before the age of 35 will up your odds of melanoma by 75%, just one session.
  • According to recent research, there are now more cases of skin cancer due to indoor tanning than there are lung cancer cases due to smoking.
  • More than 90% of the skins ageing is caused by the sun.

These shocking facts will stun many readers I’m sure but the fact is they are real, as is skin cancer and its threat to so many of us. By simply making the effort and introducing a few small steps in to your routine, you really could be saving your life. Here are a few simple steps you can introduce into your lifestyle to help you protect and detect skin cancer.

Sun Protection2

1. If you see a spot/mole that you did not notice before, or one that has changed in shape, size or colour – GET IT CHECKED OUT. It can be so easy to just ignour it as often you will feel no pain or irritation at all, but this could play a vitally crucial role. Early detection like with any form of cancer can be the difference between life or death. 60% of women believe they have no risk of getting skin cancer because no one in their family has ever had it, but this is most certainly not the case. Only 35% of melanoma risk is tied to genetics, your own personnel history then comes in, how many past sunburns you have incurred, if you have 50 or more moles etc. So ask yourself now, why take the chance? If you see a mole that even slightly concerns you – GET IT CHECKED OUT.

2. Stop thinking that a suntan is cool and makes you look healthy – It is not and it does not. According to a survey carried out by Glamour Magazine 43% of women suffered a sun burn in the past year, and 72% have had more than five in their lifetime, a factor that doubles your risk of melanoma. Despite these results, 47% of women surveyed told Glamour that they ‘haven’t had a lot of sun exposure’ and worse still, 46% said they’ve used a tanning bed. This just proves to us that the social judgement on suntanning is that it is viewed as an impressive accessory making an individual look attractive and healthy. A sun tan is certainly not healthy and I think that if we all knew exactly what it represents we would hopefully start to think a little different. When your skin is showing signs of a tan, a darkening in colour due to sun exposure, this is actually your body producing pigment to protect your own DNA. Not only that but the damage done each time you get a sun tan, is permanent. If we took the time to think about this and the implications this is having on our body’s health, would we still be a generation of sun worshippers? Here is to changing the way we view sun tans and possibly saving some lives in the process.

3. APPLY SUN CREAM, APPLY SUN CREAM, and then APPLY SOME MORE!!! SPF creams and gels are not just a product put in place using a fabricated claim to gain pressurised sales. We do advice using a clinically proven sun protection that may not be available in all your high street stores, however all SPF’s do as they say, and if used CORRECTLY will protect your skin from the suns harmful rays. An SPF should be applied at least half an hour before being exposed to the sun and should be reapplied throughout the day, every 2 hours ideally. If swimming and sweating in hot conditions, you should be reapplying more frequently. People tend to apply once when they go out and then that is it for the day and unfortunately this is not much better than not bothering at all. The SPF will sink into your skin and in a couple of hours WILL need topping up.

So to re-cap, protect your skin from the suns harmful rays using a high standard SPF, sun tans are NOT cool and are NOT a sign of health, and be sure to get any suspicious or new moles checked out. These three little steps could possibly save your life, and for what, a couple of minutes when your step out of the shower to check your moles, more thought when out in the sun with your SPF, it is not a lot to ask really is it? Trust me, your body will love you for it!!

Please click on the link below to use Glamour’s fantastic SKIN CHECK to aid you in what to look out for when checking for suspicious moles.

http://www.glamour.com/magazine/2009/04/the-two-minute-cancer-test?mbid=synd_huffpowellness#slide=1

If this blog has informed, inspired or simply raised your awareness about the dangers of skin cancer and the suns harmful rays in any way, then please share it. It’s amazing what a small article with some hard hitting facts and informed knowledge can do.

Bethany Mallinson
Practice Manager
Whitethorn Fields MediClinic

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Refrences: The Huffington Post- Healthy Living, Glamour Magazine.

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