Did you know....
Skin Cancer is the UK's most common and fastest rising cancer. Melanoma, the deadliest form of the disease is now one of the biggest cancer killers in 15-34 year olds. Experts estimate that by 2024, Melanoma will become one of the most common forms of all major cancers.
Ignorance regarding the early signs and symptoms of skin cancer and melanoma are widespread. With over 86% of all cases of melanoma preventable and early detection vital for survival, educational intervention is key to reversing the soaring rates of skin cancer in the UK and saving lives.
So what are some of the symptoms of Skin Cancer?
1. A SPOT OR A SORE
You need to have a spot checked if you are concerned about it. This could be because the spot is new, doesn't go away or looks unusual.
Spots and sores are common. But if you have one that doesn’t heal within 4 weeks, get it checked.
Also, look out for a spot or sore that hurts, is itchy, crusty, scabs over or bleeds for more than 4 weeks.
The colour of the spot could be red or dark, but this isn't always the case.
2. AN ULCER
Look out for an area of skin that's broken down (an ulcer) and doesn't heal within 4 weeks, and you can't think of a reason for this change.
3. A LUMP
This might be small, slow growing, shiny and pink or red.
4. RED PATCHES ON YOUR SKIN
These red patches could also be itchy. This could be due to other non cancerous skin conditions. But get it checked to make sure.
What are some of the risks & causes of Skin Cancer?
The older you are, the more likely you are to develop non melanoma skin cancer. But skin cancers can develop in younger people too.
2. SUN EXPOSURE
Most skin cancers are caused by exposure to the sun. This may be long term exposure, or short periods of intense sun exposure and burning. The ultraviolet light in sunlight damages the DNA in the skin cells. This damage can happen years before a cancer develops.
3. PREVIOUS SKIN CANCER
People who have already had a skin cancer have a greater risk of getting another one compared to someone who hasn't had one. Researchers think this is most likely because of sun exposure. You should cover up in the sun and look out for any signs of another skin cancer.
Although there is an increased risk, this doesn’t mean that you will definitely develop another skin cancer.
4. FAMILY HISTORY
Most non melanoma skin cancers don't run in families. But research has found some families seem to have a higher number than normal.
Of course, skin type runs in families. So people from fair skinned families will be more at risk. But there might also be some other inherited genes that slightly increase the risk of non melanoma skin cancer in some families.
You have an increased risk of developing a squamous cell skin cancer (SCC) if one of your parents has had an SCC. People who have a family history of melanoma have an increased risk of basal cell skin cancer (BCC).
What should you do if you suspect something?
Of course, as we all know, Cancer doesn't discriminate so anyone is at risk of developing skin cancer. At any point you feel that there is any irregularity on your skin then I cannot stress this enough.....please, please, PLEASE get yourself checked out. If you are unhappy with the outcome of your appointment with the GP then ask for a referral to a dermatologist.
As a skin specialist I always check out my clients skin and go through an initial skin analysis to find out about your skin history. I am also MASCED Accredited so have knowledge in the area and if at any point, I feel there is something you should get checked out then I will always let you know.
Remember kids - stay safe in the sun, and ALWAYS wear your SPF 50!!!