Summer is here. As patient’s thoughts turn to beaches , swimming and camping, skin cancer doctors’ thoughts turn to skin cancers and melanomas.
Already this summer, we have started seeing patients with sunburn. There is good evidence that protecting our skin reduces melanomas and other skin cancers. Many people know what they should do, but simply forget to do it.
To get the most out of your sunscreen:
- Cover up as much as possible.
- Use one with SPF 50+
- Apply 1 heaped teaspoon for each arm and leg, 1 for the front, 1 for the back and 1 for the face,ears and neck. This makes 7 teaspoons per full body application.
- Apply sunscreen 15 mins before stepping into the sun as they take time to work.
- Re-apply every 2 hours or after swimming.
- Use sunscreen even under gazebos and umbrellas on the beach to protect against the reflected radiation.
Early diagnosis is crucial:
Triple M recently interviewed Dr Ben Carew a Brisbane Dermatologist for its Biggest Skin Check Day. He highlighted the importance of regular skin checks and the need to get any suspicious skin lesions checked. Any new or changing mole (size,shape or colour), any tender, bleeding , ulcerating mole or skin sores that are not healing within 4 weeks can all be signs that you have a problem that needs treating. New raised lesions or skin lumps that a growing need a review after 4 weeks even when they are not brown -these may be a rapidly progressing melanoma. These problems need urgent review.
If you have grown up in Australia, and especially if you have an English, Scottish or Irish background or a family history of melanoma you are wise to have a skin check regularly. Book an appointment for a skin check online with Dr Colbrook in Wishart / Upper Mt Gravatt.
The skin cancer section of our website has more information about checking your own skin.