Skin Cancer is Preventable

From the Canadian Skin Cancer Foundation:

Fact: Did you know that according to the World Health Organization (WHO) tanning beds are classified as “carcinogenic to humans”?

Skin Cancer is Preventable

Dr. Holly WhiteKnight, ND

Protect yourself from the sun this summer, and follow these tips to perform self-checks to help with early detection of possible skin cancer lesions:

Get familiar with the ABCDE’s of early detection and check your moles and skin on a regular basis.

A: Asymmetry (bad, if you have dark spots that are asymmetrical, have your doctor check it out)

B: Border (blurry or jagged edges is a reason to see your doctor)

C: Colour (one shade is fine, two or more needs a trip to your doctor)

D: Diameter (if it’s greater than 6mm, go see your doctor)

E: Evolution (watch the progression of your moles, if they change in size or colour over time, this too warrants a trip to the doctor)

Be proactive. You only need a few minutes in the sun each day to obtain the necessary (and healthy) amount of vitamin D. When in the sun, wear sunscreen and make sure you wear a lot. Avoid the sun when it is the strongest (11am-4pm). Wear protective clothing and eyewear if you need to be out during these times.

Last month, there was a great article in the KIHC newsletter about types of sunscreen to avoid, so find a good quality one and don’t worry about the white streaks, the sunscreen will absorb rapidly and protect you for several hours. Don’t forget to re-apply after spending time in the water or exercising.

Environment Canada reports daily levels of Ultraviolet radiation so you can decide which days to steer clear from the beach.

While sunburns go away, the damaging effects are permanent and cumulative.
Even if you rarely burn, you can still develop skin cancer. Be sure to wear a sunscreen with a SPF of at least 30 and check the expiry date. An expired sunscreen is less effective in it’s UV protection capabilities!

For more information on performing self-checks, visit My Skin Check at www.myskincheck.ca.