Watch Those Rays
We think nothing of putting sun cream on when we are abroad on holiday, but when we are out and about at home or in the garden we often don’t. Yet we are just as likely to catch skin cancer, writes Tracy Hargreaves
Skin cancer is one of the most common cancers in the world. Non-melanoma skin cancer refers to a group of cancers that slowly develop in the upper layers of the skin. The term non-melanoma distinguishes these more common types of skin cancer from the less common skin cancer known as melanoma, which can be more serious.
In the UK, more than 100,000 new cases of non-melanoma skin cancer are diagnosed each year. It affects more men than women and is more common in the elderly. So, what should we be looking out for?
You should always check your body for any unusual freckles, moles or marks on your skin. But also, if these alter in appearance at all, change in colour, get bigger or become itchy. If they do, you should make an appointment to see your GP as soon as possible. Chances are it’s nothing serious, but it’s better to make sure.
There are many reasons as to what causes skin cancer. Over exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light is the main cause of non-melanoma. This comes from the sun as well as sunbeds. However other risk factors include: previous non-melanoma skin cancer, a family history, pale skin and a large number of moles or freckles.
Surgery is the main treatment for non-melanoma and is usually successful. It involves removing the cancerous tumour and some of the surrounding skin.
To ensure we look after our skin, follow these few simple steps to keep us healthy. Keep out of the sun between key times such as 11m – 4pm or cover up. Always wear a sunscreen, at least factor 30, even when it’s cloudy. A dull day can be deceptive, and we can still get burnt. Wear a hat to protect our face. Avoid sunbeds and sunlamps.
Look after your skin and it will look after you.