SKIN CAN­CER MYTHS

LEARN THE FACTS AND STAY SAFE

Life & Style Weekend - - SKIN CANCER AWARENESS - WORDS: LAYNE WHIT­BURN

Think you can’t get burnt on a long car trip? Think again. Here’s seven com­mon sun myths.

MYTH: Skin can­cer af­fects only fair-skinned peo­ple

BUSTED: Skin can­cer af­fects peo­ple with all skin types. Ex­po­sure to UV ra­di­a­tion can cause all skin types to be per­ma­nently dam­aged. Whilst skin can­cer is less com­mon in peo­ple with darker skin, it is of­ten de­tected at a later, more dan­ger­ous stage. No mat­ter your skin tone, care needs to be taken in the sun.

MYTH: I don’t have to worry too much about skin can­cer be­cause it can eas­ily be cut out

BUSTED: More than 2000 Aus­tralians die from skin can­cer each year. The sta­tis­tics prove treat­ing skin can­cer isn’t as sim­ple as hav­ing a le­sion “burnt off”. De­pend­ing on the type, size, lo­ca­tion and whether the can­cer has spread or not, there are dif­fer­ent ways to treat skin can­cer. Get into the habit of check­ing your skin and your loved ones reg­u­larly for any new spots or changes to ex­ist­ing spots. If you no­tice any­thing sus­pi­cious, con­sult your GP im­me­di­ately. Whilst early de­tec­tion is key, preven­tion is al­ways bet­ter than cure.

MYTH: You don’t have to worry about sun dam­age on a windy, cloudy or cool day

BUSTED: Ever had a red face af­ter a cloudy day spent out­side? This is very likely sun­burn. UV ra­di­a­tion can pen­e­trate through cloud cover and it can even be more in­tense due to the re­flec­tion off the clouds. Sun dam­age is caused by UV ra­di­a­tion, not tem­per­a­ture, mean­ing a cold, over­cast day can have just the same amount of UV as a warm and sunny one. So, what­ever the weather, make sure you pro­tect your skin from harm­ful UV ra­di­a­tion.

MYTH: You need sun pro­tec­tion be­tween 10am and 2pm only

Fact: The level of UVR can be high enough to dam­age skin from as early as 8am in Queens­land. So, whether the sun has just risen or is about to set, en­sure your skin is pro­tected when­ever there’s sun­light.

MYTH: I won’t get burnt if I have sun­screen on

BUSTED: Sun­screen is not a suit of ar­mour. It does wear off and needs to be reap­plied ev­ery two hours for max­i­mum pro­tec­tion. Team it with protective cloth­ing and a hat for the ul­ti­mate UVR ar­mour.

MYTH: You’re pro­tected from the sun in a car BUSTED:

You can get burnt through a car win­dow. Tinted glass win­dows re­duce, but do not com­pletely block, UVR.

MYTH: Pets can’t get skin can­cer

BUSTED: Both dogs and cats can de­velop skin can­cer. The com­mon forms of skin can­cers found in hu­mans such as melanoma, squa­mous cell car­ci­noma and basal cell car­ci­no­mas are also seen in our furry friends. If you find a lump or sore any­where on your pet’s skin, see your vet as soon as pos­si­ble.

PHOTO: SHUTTERSTO­CK

Dogs and cats can get skin can­cer too.

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