Rates of melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, are increasing faster than any other cancer in the UK.
Melanoma usually starts as a mole and has no cure, only early detection saves lives so letting a potentially suspicious mole go unchecked can have fatal consequences. In the UK, twice as many people with melanoma will die of the disease compared to Australia due to late detection.
People with light Skin are three times more likely to get melanoma and anyone with a history of sunburn or sunbed use is also at increased risk. Those at increased risk should be having routine mole checks.
The Mole clinic believes that early detection of melanoma would drastically reduce the number of deaths in the UK, which currently stands at over 2,000 per year.
The Mole clinic champions the following ABCDE rule and I have included a quote from one of The Mole Clinic’s screening nurses as well:
• A is for Asymmetrical shape where one-half of the mole is unlike the other.
• B is for Border irregularity where the mole is irregular, scalloped or poorly defined.
• C is for Colour which varies from one area to another or has different shades of tan, brown, Black.
• D is for Diameter of a mole when it is bigger than 7mm.
• E is for Evolving or changing size, shape or colour.
"The ABCDE rule is the simplest rule to help the public become more aware of their moles and help them spot any that might be suspect from skin cancer. However, the public should also remember the importance of ‘E’ which stands for evolving – because any mole that is evolving or changing needs to be examined by an expert right away," explains Anna Gucova, Nurse Specialist at The Mole Clinic.
The Mole Clinic’s top suncare tips:
1. Apply at least SPF20 30 minutes before going outside and try to apply every 2 hours to maintain UVA/UVB sun protection. If you are exposed to water, always reapply. Also, try to stay indoors or find shade between 10am - 3pm when the sun is at its hottest.
2. It is common that areas you tend to neglect to protect are areas you don’t usually see but there’s no excuse not to protect the back of the neck, ears, tops of shoulders, back of the arms and legs as they get just as much sun exposure, especially if you are wearing minimal clothing on the beach.
3. A single case of bad sunburn can double your chances of getting skin cancer - 85% of melanoma cases are caused by sunburn, so avoid burning at all costs. If your skin starts to feel irritated, get out of the sun and apply sun Cream immediately.
4. Long periods of sun exposure will mean that you are at an increased risk of Skin cancer so keep sunbathing to a minimum or not at all. Melanoma is the deadliest form of Skin cancer and usually develops in moles so it is important to be vigilant of new or changing moles. Do apply high sun protection to these areas but don’t neglect other parts of the body.
Femalefirst Taryn Davies