Skin cancer, caused by exposure to the sun, makes up 80 per cent of the diagnosed cancers in the world. For example, skin cancer in the United States takes the number one spot in cancerous diagnosis than all the rest of cancers combined.
And if you think that’s bad, the World Cancer Research Fund at reports that Australia has the highest incidents of melanoma, (the most serious type of skin cancer) in the world. No wonder there are literally hundreds of skin care doctors and sun doctor clinics throughout Australia, from Canberra to Darwin, down to Perth.
What Are the Types of Skin Cancer
Without being overly technical, there are two types of skin cancer, non-melanoma skin cancer and melanoma skin cancers.
Most skin cancers are of a non-melanoma type, which means their early treatment can be treated with minor surgery. Melanoma skin cancers, on the other hand, involve more surgery, can spread to other parts of the skin and are sometimes even fatal.
Another cancer group, the Melanoma Institute of Australia reports that each year, 1400 Australians die from melanoma skin cancer.
Whom is Most At-Risk of Skin Cancer
Experts, such as the Cancer Council of Australia, report the following with regarding who is most at-risk from skin cancer:
- Sunburn causes 90 per cent of skin cancers developing into melanoma
- Tanning. A tan is not a sign of health but rather that you have been exposed to serious damage to your skin caused by ultraviolet rays
- Those with a history of skin cancer in their family
- Having pale skin, particularly those with lots of moles
- Unusual spots or skin rashes appearing that last longer than a few weeks
Get Regular Skin Checks
It is very important to get regular check-ups if you see any changes on the skin and if you suffer from any such skin cancer. To get a better picture of skin cancer one should see a professional such as SunDoctors, who recommends at a minimum, adults over the age of 18 are skin checked by a skin specialist at least once every three years. And those who are at the extreme in risk should be checked much more frequently.
A typical skin check takes around 15 minutes. The doctor will examine your face, neck, arms and legs, your torso, your back, your hands, front and back, and your toes.
While examining you, most doctors will also have careful photos made of your skin, so that if you run into a problem a year or so down the line, they can compare how a mole or spot looks now, compared to how it looked during your last check.
How Do You Avoid Developing Skin Cancer
The problem, of course, is that Australia is a land of sunshine and the great outdoors, so it’s relatively hard to completely avoid the sun. Nevertheless, there are some important, common sense things you can do.
- Use at least a 30 SPF Sunscreen, and reapply it every 2 hours or so. Reapply after swimming or excess seating
- Wear a wide-brimmed hat
- Wear quality, UV ray resistant sunglasses
- Wear clothing that resists penetration from the sun
- Resist the urge to tan
- Never use a tanning bed
- Avoid, at all costs, getting a sunburn. This is particularly important for children
- Keep newborns out of the sun
- Perform a self-inspection of your skin once a month
- At the first sign of a noticeable change in a mole or spot, seek a licensed skin care doctor
- Consider stopping smoking