Sun safety and Skin Cancer Awareness

The therapists role in mole checking.

 

With this wonderful sunny weather more people are taking part in outdoor activities, or just soaking up the rays. I know we don't experience that many heat waves in this country so it's important to remember basic sun safety whilst out and about enjoying the weather.

The British Association of Dermatologists sun safe tips:

Top sun safety tips

You don't have to avoid the sun all year, but taking a few steps when out and about in the summer sun or when on a sunshine holiday will help to protect you from sunburn and the risk of skin cancer.

  • Protect the skin with clothing, including a hat, T shirt and UV protective sunglasses 
  • Spend time in the shade between 11am and 3pm when it’s sunny  
  • Use a sunscreen of at least SPF 30 (SPF 50 for children or people with pale skin) which also has high UVA protection
  • Keep babies and young children out of direct sunlight
  • The British Association of Dermatologists recommends that you tell your doctor about any changes to a mole – if your GP is concerned about your skin, make sure you see a Consultant Dermatologist (on the GMC register of specialists), the most expert person to diagnose a skin cancer. Your GP can refer you via the NHS.

Sunscreens should not be used as an alternative to clothing and shade, rather they offer additional protection. No sunscreen will provide 100% protection

As a massage therapist it isn't uncommon to see clients with sun damaged skin. We are in a great position to point clients at reliable sun safety information but we can also able to help increase skin cancer survival rates by prompting early diagnosis.  Due to the nature of massage we work on areas where melanomas can occur but clients can't easily see themselves, such as the back. Complimentary therapists aren't qualified to diagnose but they can be aware of changes to look out for and spot signs which could help to save a client's life.

There are three types of skin cancer, and all look different. The following ABCD-Easy rules show you a few changes that might indicate a 'melanoma', which is the deadliest form of skin cancer. As skin cancers vary, you should tell your doctor about any changes to your skin, even if they are not similar to those mentioned here.

Remember - if in doubt, check it out! If your GP is concerned about your skin, make sure you see a Consultant Dermatologist, the most expert person to diagnose a skin cancer. Your GP can refer you via the NHS.

ABCD-Easy mole check:

Asymmetry - the two halves of the area may differ in shape

Border - the edges of the area may be irregular or blurred, and sometimes show notches

Colour - this may be uneven. Different shades of black, brown and pink may be seen

Diameter - most melanomas are at least 6mm in diameter. Report any change in size, shape or diameter to your doctor

Expert - if in doubt, check it out! If your GP is concerned about your skin, make sure you see a Consultant Dermatologist, the most expert person to diagnose a skin cancer. Your GP can refer you via the NHS.

It's wonderful to be able to enjoy the sunshine and by following the safety tips you can keep you skin safe too.  Remember to keep an eye on your skin and report any changes to your G.P. Early diagnosis is vital and often treatment is quick and straightforward. 

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Posted on July 15, 2013 .