Central Coast News
Are You Doing Everything You Can to Protect Your Skin?
Each year Cancer Council Australia and the Australasian College of Dermatologists come together for National Skin Cancer Action Week. With 2 in 3 Australians diagnosed with skin cancer by age 70, the action week is an important reminder of sun protection and early skin cancer detection for all Australians.
More than 2,000 people in Australia die from skin cancer each year, and Cancer Council estimates that Australia spends more than $1 billion per year treating skin cancer, with costs increasing substantially over the past few years. Yet most skin cancers can be prevented using appropriate sun protection.
That’s why this National Skin Cancer Action Week, Australians of all ages are urged to use the five forms of sun protection. These are to:
- slip on sun-protective clothing
- slop on SPF30 (or higher) broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen
- slap on a broad-brimmed hat
- seek shade
- slide on sunglasses.
A combination of these measures, along with getting to know your skin and regularly checking for any changes, are the keys to reducing your skin cancer risk.
Providence Medical general practitioner, Dr Karla Raja answers a few common questions below around prevention and effective management of your skin:
1. How often should you have a skin check and where should we go?
In our harsh Australian climate, we should have skin checked at least once a year and more frequently if you have had a significant lesion removed. Your GP can advise you.
2. Can you prevent skin cancer?
We all should take adequate precautions by following the 5 Ss. Slip on sun protective clothing, Slap on a hat, Slop on sunscreen SPF30 of higher, Seek shade and Slide on sunglasses. These measures should start at an early age and continue throughout your lifetime.
3. How common is skin cancer?
Very common. Skin cancers account for 80% of all cancers. However, when diagnosed early it can be cured.
4. Are there many types of skin cancers?
There are 3 main types: Basal cell carcinoma, Squamous cell carcinoma and Malignant melanomas. There are then subtypes for each of them.
5.What can we do to help ourselves?
Everyone should check themselves regularly and ask a partner or parent to check parts of the body that you can’t reach yourself. If in doubt, please see your doctor and don’t delay. Using smartphones to take photos of moles can also be useful.
When checking a mole, look for changes in colour, irregularities, rapid growth, bleeding etc.
Early diagnosis is essential! Melanomas diagnosed early can be cured with surgery. Delay in treatment can result in more complicated treatments and could be fatal.
6.Are there specific skin types more prone to skin cancers?
Yes, skin type can be classified from 1-6 depending on how quickly you tend to suffer sun burn and the tanning process. The darker the skin the less the risk but darker skinned people are not immune to skin cancer.
You are also at greater risk if you have a family history of Melanomas or other skin cancers. Start screening at an earlier age if there is a strong Family history.
Don’t wait for skin cancer to happen. Prevention is better than cure so seek help early and get your skin checked regularly by your GP.
By Providence Medical
472 The Esplanade
Warners Bay NSW 2282
02 4989 3400
Cancer Council: http://www.cancer.org.au
Melanoma Research Foundation: http://www.melanomaresearch.com.au
This article archived 8 Jan 2018
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