TI was a regular user of sunbeds throughout my teens and twenties, which I now deeply regret. Now that I’m in my forties, I find myself continually anxious about my skin and worried that I might be developing skin cancer. I did have one growth on my back checked out a few years ago and
thankfully the biopsy showed that it was benign. Back then, my GP advised me to keep checking my skin regularly but my back is covered in moles and freckles, as are my legs and arms, so to be honest, I don’t even know where to start in monitoring it. Are there any reliable tests I could use or
what is the best way to keep track of changes to my skin? The anxiety is making me sick. HE World Health Organisation has classified UV rays from the sun and artificial devices as carcinogenic. The UV radiation in sunbeds damages skin and is a major risk for skin cancer. Radiation from sunbeds can in fact be over 10 times stronger than that of a midday hot Mediterranean sun.
If you have ever used a sunbed, your risk of melanoma is increased by 20pc. Those who first use a sunbed under the age of 35 have a nearly 60pc increased risk of skin cancer. Regular use under the age of 30 increases it by over 75pc. The increased use of sunbeds in younger women means that melanoma has surpassed cervical cancer as the most common cancer occurring in this age group.
Overexposure to the UV rays is the major risk for the development of skin cancer. Children are born with few or any moles but new ones may develop up to the age of 40. Normal moles do change. They start flat then may rise over time before flattening out again and sometimes disappearing.
Skin cancer can occur on all types of skin. Those with fair skin, a personal or family history of skin cancer, excessive UV exposure, whether from sunlight or tanning beds, a history of blistering sunburn, especially in childhood, the presence of lots of atypical moles on the body, weakened immunity, and previous exposure to chemicals such as tar, petrol products, arsenic and soot are at an increased risk of developing skin cancer.
The majority of native Irish people are classified as having fair skin, which immediately puts us at a higher risk of skin cancer. It takes 20 to 30 years for skin cancer to develop but damage is often done in childhood. Tanned skin is damaged skin.
There are two main types of skin cancer: non-melanoma or melanoma. Non-melanoma cancer is more common, affecting just over 6,000 Irish