Summer is almost here and we will all be spending a lot more time outside. This year, almost 7,000 Canadians will be diagnosed with melanoma after spending too much time in the sun in the past.
Melanoma is one of the most aggressive types of cancer and is one of the most common types of cancer for those aged 15-29. If not caught early, it is the most deadly form of skin cancer.
Everyone is a candidate for melanoma, but those who are fair-skinned, blue-eyed, have red or blonde hair, have more than 50 moles on their body or have a family history of the cancer are most at risk.
The good news is that melanoma is easily, and often, detected by people doing personal examinations using the ABCDE method.
Examine your moles regularly and watch for:
A – Asymmetry – One half of the mole does not match the other.
B – Border – Mole edges are uneven, blurred, notched or ragged.
C – Colour – Colours are different or inconsistent with other moles.
D – Diameter – Mole is growing in size or is larger than 6mm.
E – Evolution – Mole has changed in recent weeks or months and my itch or bleed.
The Public Health Agency of Canada suggests the following to reduce your risk of getting skin cancer.
Cover up by wearing long-sleeved shirts, pants and a wide-brimmed hat. When you buy sunglasses, make sure they provide protection against both UVA and UVB rays.
Limit your time in the sun. When your shadow is shorter than you, the sun is very strong.
When the UV index is 3 or higher, wear protective clothing, sunglasses and sunscreen, even when it’s cloudy.
There is no such thing as a ‘healthy’ tan. Tanning equipment damages your skin and increases your risk of developing melanoma.
Get outside and enjoy the summer, but be sun-safe and sensible.