Skin cancer occurs when skin cells are damaged, for example, by overexposure to UV radiation from the sun.
PROTECTING YOUR SKIN
The sooner a skin cancer is identified and treated, the better your chance of avoiding surgery or, in the case of a serious melanoma or other skin cancer, potential disfigurement or even death. Become familiar with the look of your skin, so you pick up any changes that might suggest a skin cancer. Look for:
Crusty, non-healing sores Small lumps that are red, pale or pearly in colour New spots, freckles or any moles changing in colour, thickness or shape over a period of weeks to months (especially those dark brown to black, red or blue-black in colour)
ON THE BRIGHT SIDE
The Sun Protection Alert is reported daily by NIWA to alert you to those times when the UV level is 3 or above and sun protection is needed (sunsmart.org.nz). You can also download the free app, uv2Day, to check the current UV Index level.
It is no secret that a high intake of alcohol can be detrimental to health. A new study provides further evidence of this, after linking high alcohol consumption with an increased risk of skin cancer. Researchers found that every 10g increase in daily alcohol consumption was associated with a greater risk of basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, which are the two main types of non-melanoma skin cancers.
KEEP AN EYE ON IT
Have regular skin checks with your GP, and book a yearly MoleMap to keep track of any changes in your skin. Visit molemap.co.nz to make a booking.