Check your skin for suspicious moles
Melanoma Check your moles
Do you regularly check your skin for suspicious moles? If you are aged between 20 and 50, there is a considerable chance that you will answer that question with a negative. According to the Melanoma Foundation, people in that age category in the UK only check when they already have an unusual mole or other abnormalities. And that is dangerous because if you discover skin cancer too late, the chance of a cure is much smaller.
Skin cancer is not just something that happens to older people. Young people can also develop melanoma, an aggressive form of skin cancer that spreads quickly. Every year, about 6000 people are diagnosed with melanoma. 2285 British people die each year from the consequences of this type of skin cancer, which is the most common cancer in the UK. If you catch it in its early stages, however, then your chances of survival are considerably greater so it’s really important to keep an eye on your skin. So check your moles: it could save your life!
This is how to do it
According to Astrid Nollen-de Heer, the director of the Melanoma Foundation, many people have no idea what to look for when they check their skin. The foundation is dedicated to helping people with melanoma and teaching people the warning signs. You should check your skin every month for moles and pay attention to the following symptoms:
1.Moles that appear from nowhere;
2.Moles that grow, or regularly bleed, sting or itch;
3. Moles that become thicker, have an irregular shape or have multiple colours.
If you have one of the above symptoms or are worried about a mole, wart or lump for any other reason, always go to the doctor.
Tip: Get your partner or housemate to check areas of your body that are hard to see, such as your ears, neck, back and the back of your legs and arms.
Preventing skin cancer
Skin cancer is usually caused by excessive exposure to UV radiation. Working for hours on your ‘suntan’ is, therefore, out of the question. Unfortunately, 84 percent of UK dermatologists believe that most people have an unhealthy attitude towards sunbathing. It’s all the more important, therefore, to keep to the following guidelines:
Slather your skin generously with sunscreen, Factor 30 or higher, several times a day – reapply after two hours.
Do not sunbathe for any length of time between 11 am and 3 pm when UV radiation is at its strongest. If you want to go outside at that time, stay under a sunshade or wear a pair of trousers and T-shirt. Protect your head and face from UV radiation with a trendy sun hat or sporty cap. Children should wear UV protective clothing when playing in the sun.
Always wear sunglasses: melanoma can also develop in your eyes!
Never use sunbeds.
The most important remedy to prevent skin cancer is to ensure that you do not burn. Sunburn causes damage to the skin cells, increasing the likelihood of cancer. Pay particular attention if you have naturally pale skin. Fair skin types burn faster and children also need extra protection against UV radiation. However, exposure to a certain amount of sunshine is important for the production of vitamin D – essential for healthy bones and the prevention of osteoporosis.
The British Association of Dermatologists launches their ‘Don’t Bake‘ Bake campaign on 11 May 2018, aiming to raise awareness about the dangers of sunbathing. It’s a particular problem in the UK, which is not known for its sunshine. When the sun does come out, people tend to make the most of it and spend as much time outside as possible, which can often lead to cases of severe sunburn and heatstroke.
Sun Awareness Week
Sun Awareness Week is May 14th -20th of May. If you want to know more about skin cancer and how to spot it and prevent it, you can also find more information on specialist skin cancer sites such as and www.bad.org.uk.