If you do suffer from sun burn, remember that melanoma can take many years to appear. In this film (DVD available on request) moles appear on Mel and Oma very rapidly. In reality it could be a long time before melanoma decides to grow. We all need to keep a look out for changes to our skin - throughout our lives.
Usually, but not always, the first sign of melanoma growing can be spotted by changes to moles on our skin. A useful guide is the "A, B, C, D" reminder:
A. Asymmetrical shape. Look for moles with irregular shapes - such as with two very different-looking halves.
B. Borders which are irregular. Moles which have notched or scalloped borders.
C. Colour changes. Look for growths which have many colours or an uneven distribution of colour.
D. Diameter. Look for new growth in any large mole (over 1/4" or 6mm).
Other suspicious changes in a mole may include:
Changes in texture - for example becoming hard or lumpy
Spreading of pigment from the mole into the surrounding skin
Oozing or bleeding
If any of the above changes are noticed then get the mole checked by your doctor. If melanomas are caught in the early stages they are removed (simply) and there is no further problem. Delay at this stage can prove fatal. When melanoma takes hold and begins to spread there is no cure at present.
And a note about SUN CREAM!
We are being told to protect our skin by splashing on loads of Factor 40!
High factor sun cream may help - but there is a danger. We may think that because we are using lots of cream that it is safe to stay out on the beach. Not a good move! The best bet is still to cover up - or search out the shade in the middle of the day.
There is even some new research which suggests that some sun screens may actually contain ingredients that can increase skin sensitivity. Caertain ingredients, like parabens, have already been banned in Scandanavia. Other ingredients, like oxybenzone are feminising fish off the coast of California.
These chemicals, once in the body, mimic the action of oestrogen - which many scientists now believe to fuel many types of cancer. Psoralen is yet another chemical known to promote cancer - and is still used as a tanning agent. There are more natural sun screens on the market - and it may be wise to search these out.
And yet avoiding sunlight can make you more vulnerable to other forms of cancer!
By exposing our bodies to sunlight throughout the year (in short daily bursts) we build up Vitamin D - which reduces the risk of breast, colon, prostate and many other cancers. Common sense suggests easing into sun exposure in small doses - and keeping our immune systems as high as we can. Vitamins A, E and C all seem to play a role in protecting our bodies against Ultra-Violet rays.
So use the sun wisely! It can be very good for you! But take care!
Sun is good - but burning your skin is dangerous. And please don't rely on sun screens alone!
And one further point - beware the Sun Bed! The younger you are - the more dangerous these can be!
"Play safe" and use "Skin Sense"