How to protect yourself from skin cancer
The sun’s shining, you’re out in the garden, or maybe on holiday. But before soaking up those rays, have you remembered to protect your skin?
Despite all the safety information we’re bombarded with, malignant melanoma – the most dangerous form of skin cancer – is now five times more prevalent in the UK than it was in the 1970s, with around 9,000 new cases per year.
And according to Cancer Research UK, people over 65 are seven times more likely to develop melanoma compared with 40 years ago. The good news is skin cancer can be prevented. Here’s how…
Know your risk
You’re at a much higher risk of developing skin cancer if you have fair skin, red hair and blue eyes, or always burn and never tan. “Family history of skin cancer, increased sun exposure or use of suntanning beds, and a history of blistering sunburn also increase your risk,” says consultant dermatologist and skin cancer expert Dr Noor Almaani .
Ask for help
“Always seek medical advice if you have any skin concerns,” stresses Dr Almaani. “Your GP can then refer you to a dermatologist if they’re uncertain.”
If you have lots of moles or a personal or family history of melanomas, you might require something called mole mapping, which is a full-body mole analysis. Each mole is photographed and monitored.
“Although this is not required in the majority of cases,” says Dr Almaani.