PROTECT YOUR SKIN!
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the UK, and cases continue to rise each year. At least 100,000 new cases are now diagnosed each year, and the disease kills over 2,500 people each year in the UK - that's seven people every day.
Unfortunately, the UK is not the only country with a high rate of people being diagnosed with skin cancer. With over 5 million cases diagnosed in the United States each year, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer. Fortunately, skin cancer is also one of the most preventable forms of cancer. About 90 percent of nonmelanoma skin cancers and 85 percent of melanoma cases are associated with exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun. By raising awareness of the dangers of unprotected exposure and encouraging sun-safe habits, we can change behaviours and save lives.
The different types of skin cancer you will come across is Malignant Melanoma, Squamous Cell Carcinoma, and Basal Cell Carcinoma.
Skin Cancer awareness month is an annual awareness campaign that takes place every May. The campaign aims to raise awareness of the dangers of unprotected sun exposure and educate the public about the ways to help prevent skin cancer.
During the month, people who have been affected by skin cancer are encouraged to get involved by sharing their stories on all forms of social media using the hashtag #MySkinCancerJourney, and everyone is invited to share information about sun safety, skin cancer prevention and early detection with friends and family. Special awareness classes will also be available in many schools, and there will be an increase in stories around this theme in the media.
A range of fundraising events take place throughout the month with proceeds going to fund education and research into new treatments. Participants can join in with activities such as cycling, treks, and races for this good cause.
Whilst we are getting better at understanding how skin cancer works, we still have a long way to go. On average, someone who dies from skin cancer typically loses 20 years of their life, and rates of malignant melanoma are rising faster than any other type of common cancer.
UV exposure from the sun is one of the main causes of skin cancer and also one of the most preventable. This campaign hopes to reduce instances of skin cancer and increase the likelihood of early detection through education.
Here are a few tips on how to stay safe in the sun:
Clothing should always be your first line of defence against damage from the sun, with sunscreen being used in addition to clothes, including a hat, t-shirt and UV protective sunglasses.
Find the right sunscreen
Use a sunscreen of SPF30 (SPF stands for ‘Sun Protection Factor’) and refers to the level of protection against UVB radiation, linked to skin cancer. Look for a four or ideally five-star UVA rating on the bottle which will help protect from UVA radiation, associated with skin ageing. You may also find that the UVA rating is represented by the letters ‘UVA’ inside a circle. Babies and toddlers should be kept out of direct sunlight.
Get your timing right
Skin needs time to absorb sunscreen, so apply generously about 20 to 30 minutes before going out. Reapply frequently at least every two hours, as it can come off when sweating or through rubbing.
The sun tends to be strongest in the middle of the day, so find some shade typically between 11 am and 3 pm, especially if you are very fair skinned. Just 10 minutes of strong sunshine is all it takes to burn pale skin.