Skin cancer – How can I protect myself?
In Queensland, our climate is one of the best in the world, allowing us to enjoy an outdoor lifestyle all year round.
Unfortunately, one downside of living in paradise, is that we have the highest skin cancer rate in the world. Basal cell carcinomas, squamous cell carcinomas and melanomas are an all too common problem in our state.
The Cancer Council has issued an urgent warning for Queenslanders to stay vigilant about sun safety and protect themselves from skin cancer.
What is skin cancer?
Skin cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal skin cells. It is the most common of all cancers. Australia has the highest incidence of skin cancer in the world, more than two-thirds of the Australian population will develop a skin cancer of some kind during their lives.
Am I at risk of developing Skin Cancer?
Skin cancer usually occurs in people who have been exposed to too much ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun.
The Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons identifies the following people in the higher risk category of developing skin cancer:
- Fair skin and freckle easily
- Light-coloured hair and eyes
- A large number of moles, or moles of unusual size or shape
- A family history of skin cancer or a personal history of blistering sunburn
- Spent a lot of time working or playing outdoors
- Intense, year-round sun exposure. This includes people who live closer to the equator, at a higher altitude, or in any place that gets intense sunshine
How do I check for signs of skin cancer?
It is important that you get to know and understand your skin. Skin cancer does not generally hurt so identification is more about what you see.
Get into a regular habit of examining your skin and looking for new spots or any changes to existing spots or moles.
It is also important to have regular check-ups with you GP
If you have seen your GP or skin specialist and they have identified a lesion of concern that needs removing, we can assist with that process.
How to protect yourself from exposure to skin cancer?
The Australian Cancer Council has suggested a combination of sun protection measures:
- Slip on some sun-protective clothing that covers as much skin as possible.
- Slop on broad spectrum, water resistant SPF30 (or higher) sunscreen. Put it on 20 minutes before you go outdoors and every two hours afterwards. Sunscreen should never be used to extend the time you spend in the sun.
- Slap on a hat – broad brim or legionnaire style to protect your face, head, neck and ears. It is important to make sure the brim is at least 7cm
- Seek shade
- Slide on some sunglasses – make sure they meet Australian Standards.
With so many sun protection products on the market, it can be hard to know which are the products you should use.
We recommend 2 products
– Avene SPF50+ Skin care range
– The Skincare Company SPF 50 Dry Touch High Protection Sunscreen Lotion
You can buy them from our Practice by calling (07) 3854 0500.
Your skin will thank you for it!