Summer is now well underway and with it comes the heightened risk of developing skin cancer. With over 2000 Australians dying from skin cancer each year, it's vital that we recognise what contributes to the development of this cancer, and what we can do to best avoid it.
Reducing your risk of skin cancer is a multi-tiered approach, just doing one of the below will not be nearly as effective as doing all of them.
1. Reduce your time in the sun
UV exposure contributes to the development of most skin cancers. The hot Australian sun is particularly harsh making Australia have the highest amount of people per population being diagnosed with skin cancer each year.
If you must be in the sun, try to avoid direct sunlight, particularly between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm. Strictly avoid tanning at any time of the day.
2. Check the UV index, even in winter.
We often forget that even though it may be cold or cloudy out, the UV index can still be quite high. Many people even get burned when skiing! A cloud covering won't protect you from getting burnt.
3. Carry sunscreen with you
Getting into the habit of wearing sunscreen, especially in summer, will help reduce your risk of getting sunburnt. Have sunscreen in your car, in your bag and your desk in case you forget to apply before leaving home. And make sure you reapply every two-four hours.
4. NEVER use UV tanning beds and avoid tanning
Solariums and tanning beds highly contribute to your risk of developing skin cancer.
5. Wear protective clothing
When it's hot, it's natural that we do not want to wear too much clothing. However, covering up is so important for reducing your risk of being sunburnt. Don't forget your hat and sunglasses!
6. Get to know your skin - learn how to check for skin cancer at home.
Recognising skin cancer in its early stages is imperative for the success of treatment and chance of recovery.
Check your skin and moles for signs of skin cancer through a monthly check. During your check, look at your skin from head to toe and mark any changes.
Changes to your moles may be an early sign of skin cancer, they include:
Patches of scaly skin
Oozing or bleeding from a spot or mole
Changes to your mole's colour, surface, shape, size
changes to how your mole feels - itching, pain or tenderness
Non-symmetrical moles - your moles should be round
Moles that are larger than a pea
Moles that are a different colour - black, tan, or traces of blue, red and white
7. See a professional skin cancer doctor once a year
Even if you do not notice any changes during your monthly mole checks, it is best to see a professional once a year to be sure. We provide total body mole mapping with our Fotofinder. Call us today to make an appointment to have your skin checked.
Learn more about skin cancer risk factors.
Call us today on 03 9741 1200 or book an appointment online