Skin cancer is regarded as one of the most common cancers with over 750,000 people in Australia alone treated each year. Over their lifetimes, approximately 2 out of 3 Australians will experience skin cancer. Although skin cancer is a common danger, it can be treated effectively with a number of surgical procedures and other methods such as chemotherapy, immunotherapy and gene therapy. Early identification, diagnosis and treatment, however, are critical to experience a full recovery.
Minimise sun exposure: Avoid direct exposure to the sunlight, particularly between 10 am and 4pm when the sun’s harmful UV rays are the most intense.
Stay in the shade: When you do go outside, seek protection from strong UV rays by seeking shade. Consider wearing wide-brimmed hats, sunglasses and loose-fitting, tightly weaved, long-sleeve clothing.
Be wary of clouds: Keep in mind that up to 80 percent of the sun’s UV rays can penetrate light clouds, fog, and mist.
Pay attention to reflection: Remember that concrete, water, snow and sand can reflect the sun’s rays at unprotected parts of your body.
Always use sunscreen: Never step out of your home without using sunscreen with a minimum SPF value of 15. Apply sunscreen at least 15 minutes before stepping outside and remember to reapply every two hours. Reapply in one hour intervals if you are playing, swimming or working.
Avoid sunlamps and tanning salons: These lights are known to emit harmful UVA radiation in higher concentrations than natural sunlight. UVA radiation causes premature skin ageing, sunburn and skin cancer.
Protect your kids: Remember that the worst effects of sun exposure usually take place during early childhood. Babies below 12 months should be kept away out of direct sunlight. For incidental sunlight, infants over 6 months should have sunscreen applied for complete protection. Consider also the option of children’s sunglasses to protect their eyesight. Children should also wear clothes that completely cover their legs and arms when going out. Opt for wide-brimmed hats instead of baseball hats that do not give adequate protection. Let your kids play in the water but use waterproof sunscreen for protection and remember to reapply more frequently.
Safeguard your eyes: UV radiation can be the cause of cataracts during the later stages of life, but can also facilitate skin cancer through contact with the eyes and eyelids. Protect these delicate parts of your body with sunglasses and wide-brimmed hats.
Keep track of your moles: Never forget to examine your freckles and moles every month so that you can identify any changes. You must seek immediate medical attention if you observe a sore that fails to heal, discoloration or a mole that has appeared suddenly and is changing shape.