Staying Sun Safe This Summer
May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month and whilst we've had some lovely sunny weather recently - with many of us taking to the garden to help with home schooling or working from home - too much ultraviolet (UV) light, either from natural sunlight or from artificial sources such as sunbeds, is the main cause of the majority of skin cancers.
Skin cancer is the most common cancer in Northern Ireland and fortunately, is also one of the most preventable forms of cancer as well.
Skin cancer can happen to anyone, at any age, on any part of the body. Catching it early can be the difference between life and death.
We can reduce instances of skin cancer and increase the likelihood of early detection by educating ourselves on:
The Dangers of Unprotected Sun Exposure - Stay in the shade; cover up; wear sunglasses with 100% UV protection; use sun protection with at least SPF15 and UVA 4 Stars, and the same applies for sun in the snow! Children should wear SPF30 - 50 and reapply every 2 hours.
Check Your Skin At Least Once A Month - Look for warning signs like new moles or blemishes that have appeared; change in colour, shape, texture or size and if any have an outline or continuously itch, hurt, crust or bleed for more than 3 weeks.
Full Body Checks - Start at the top of your body with your scalp, face and neck then work your way down. Use mirrors to monitor areas you can’t readily see like your back.
Facts/Figures Around Sun Exposure in Northern Ireland
- UV rays, natural or due to sunbeds are responsible for 80% of skin cancers.
- Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in N.I. accounting for over 31% of all cancers. 10% of these are malignant melanomas, the most serious type of skin cancer.
- There are almost 400 cases of malignant melanoma in N.I. annually. Each year, skin cancer kills over 90 people in N.I. Risk of melanoma increases with age, however, there is a significant number of cases in under 35s.
What To Do If You Find Something?
Ultimately if in doubt get it checked out and contact your GP, however due to the continuing Coronavirus pandemic many patients have been worried about visiting their GPs.
At Kingsbridge Private Hospital we are offering a new online telemedicine consultation platform which allows you to have a video consult directly with one of our Dermatologists or GPs from the comfort of your own home.
The process is very straightforward, simply call us on 02890 667 878 or visit our Online Booking Portal. Once you have confirmed your appointment you will receive a unique link. Register using that link and then wait for your appointment to start.
Don’t wait or suffer in silence if you are worried. Book an appointment to see a clinician today.
But Don’t Stop Having Fun In The Sun!
Sunlight is important! Vitamin D helps the body’s immune system as well as keeping our bones and muscles healthy. Sunshine is also thought to increase the brain’s release of a hormone called serotonin with is associated with boosting our mood and helping a person feel calm and focused.
Just remember to;
- Be aware of the damage too much UV light can do to your skin
- Take precautions and protect yourself and your family
- Check the skin all over your body at least once a month. Keep an eye on your children’s skin too
- If in doubt, get checked out!
Remember, your skin is the largest organ in your body, so look after it!
To find out more about video consultations with us, or to read more about cancer services available at Kingsbridge Private Hospital click here.