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Preventing skin cancer
Skin cancer is one of the world’s most common cancers. The good news is that it is usually treatable if detected early - and there are things we can do to prevent it.
Always be sunsafe
Avoid unnecessary exposure.
Seek shade where possible, and avoid the summer sun during the middle of the day.
Wear protective clothing
Include dark colours, long sleeves, a widebrimmed hat and UV-rated sunglasses.
For children, look for clothing with inbuilt sun protection.
Check that yours has a high protection factor against both UVA and UVB rays. Remember that sunscreen takes effect around half an hour after its application and only lasts for two to three hours.
Children are at the greatest risk of long-term health issues related to unsafe sun exposure.
Outside play is important, but you should never let a child get sunburnt.
What to look for
Check your skin once a month for spots that:
If you see two or more of these warning signs, don’t delay. Visit your doctor immediately.
This is the least common form of skin cancer, but also the most dangerous. It can affect people of any age, unlike other types that are more common among older people.
It presents as a spot that becomes darkly pigmented or develops irregular edges or different colours over time, or as a rapidly-growing pink or red lump. It can spread internally, so immediate treatment is required.
Basal cell carcinoma
This is the most common form of skin cancer, but also the least dangerous. It typically presents as an elevated skin-coloured lump with a shiny, pearl-like edge, a wound that does not heal, or a slightly crusty lump that grows slowly over time. If left untreated, it may ulcerate and invade deeper tissues.
Squamous cell carcinoma