Get ready for the forecasted heat wave later this week and learn about Sun Awareness Week
The British Association of Dermatologists (BAD) is running a national campaign around the awareness of skin cancer called Sun Awareness, which includes national Sun Awareness Week in May (which is this week). The campaign is overseen by the BAD’s Skin Cancer Prevention Committee, which is made up of leading medical professionals with expertise in skin cancer, vitamin D and public health messaging.
The Sun Awareness campaign is two-pronged and combines prevention and detection advice. The first aim is to encourage people to regularly self-examine for skin cancer. The second is to teach people about the dangers of sunburn and excessive tanning, and to discourage people from using sunbeds, in light of the associated risks of skin cancer. In addition to public education about the dangers of sunbed use, the BAD has also been involved in campaigning for legislation to regulate the sunbed industry and is continuing to push towards further and improved regulation.
How do I stay safe in the sun?
It’s quite easy to be safe when you’re outside in the sun, as the simplest and most important thing to do is to apply sun screen. Make sure you put on a hat, and cover your skin. Something this simple can save your skin from harmful and painful damage caused by the sun when over-exposed.
What damage can the sun cause?
Over-exposure to the sun’s rays can cause serious damage to your body, with two common types of cancers, non-melanoma, and melanoma, which is by far the most dangerous and deadly skin cancer. This should be enough to ensure you look after your skin and stay in the shade if possible, to be safe in the sun.
Who is affected?
Everyone is susceptible to damage to the skin caused by the sun. Last year alone, 35% of people in the UK were sun burnt at least once, with 28% of those being burnt more than three times during the year.
So this year, remember to wear sunscreen, wear a t-shirt, stay in the shade and during Sun Awareness Week spread the word of sun safety and the dangers of over exposure!
How do I self-examine for skin cancer?
The best way to check yourself for skin cancer is to check any moles that you have, and use the ABCDE rule:
- Asymmetry – one side of a mole looks different to the other
- Borders – the edges are irregular or blurred
- Colours – the mole is not the same colour all over. It may include shades of brown or black, possibly with patches of red, pink white or even blue
- Diameter – the mole is larger than 1/4 inch across (though melanomas can sometimes be smaller)
- Evolving – the mole is changing in size, colour or shape