Don’t mess with Melanoma
It’s Melanoma Awareness Month and although we don’t get that much sun in Ireland, we get enough that some of us still end up sunburnt.
Shockingly, 47% of Irish men and 19% of Irish women NEVER wear sun protection.
Just one blistering sunburn can double your chances of developing melanoma later in life.
Show everyone you know this brilliant video (www.youtube.com/watch?v=_4jgUcxMezM&feature=youtu.be) from the David Cornfield Melanoma Fund – if watching this doesn’t make you put on sunscreen, then nothing will…
What are the warning signs?
- Sudden appearance of new moles.
- Changes in shape or color to an existing mole.
To help identify suspect moles, you can use the ‘ugly duckling’ method. Most peoples moles are often similar in appearance, but a mole could be considered suspect if it has a different appearance from other moles. This is known as an “ugly duckling”.
What about getting vitamin D from the sun?
Vitamin D is important for bone health, immune function and blood cell formation and comes from two sources: UV rays from the sun and our diet.
To help meet your vitamin D needs the Irish Cancer Society follows the WHO INTERSUN recommendations of getting 5 to 15 minutes of casual sun exposure to hands, face and arms two to three times a week during the summer months. However, it is important to remember:
Skin cancer is the most common cancer in Ireland. It is mainly caused by the same UV ray that is needed for our body to produce vitamin D. In 2010 approximately 8,900 new cases of skin cancer were diagnosed and 133 people died from the disease in Ireland.
Never increase your risk of skin cancer to meet your vitamin D needs so:
- Never let your skin redden or burn.
- Never use a sunbed to increase your vitamin D levels.
- Take extra care when in the sun if you have fair skin because fair skin burns more quickly when exposed to UV rays.
- At all times follow the SunSmart Code (see below).
Eat a healthy balanced diet that includes foods high in vitamin D such as egg yolks, salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines and fresh tuna to top up your vitamin D levels. Also foods fortified with vitamin D such as some milks, breakfast cereals and margarines.
The SunSmart Code
- Cover up – Wear a t-shirt, long shorts and a hat that gives shade to the face, back of neck and ears.
- Seek shade – Especially from 11am to 3pm.
- Wear wraparound sunglasses – Make sure they give UV protection.
- Wear sunscreen – Using sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher and UVA protection.
For more information, visit www.cancer.ie/reduce-your-risk/sunsmart