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Health Awareness - Skin Cancer

 Key Messages 

Never Burn

Burning can double the risk of skin cancer

Know your skin

Get to know your skin and any changes. People with fair skin that burns easily, lots of freckles, moles and a history of sunburn and family/personal history of skin cancer are more at risk of skin cancer and need to take extra care. Remember children are more susceptible to the risk of sunburn.

Look out for:

·        a new growth or sore that won’t heal

·        a spot, mole or sore that itches or hurts

·        a mole or growth that bleeds, crusts or scabs

Seek shade

In the UK, the sun is at its strongest between 11am and 3pm. Abroad, the sun is strongest when your shadow is shorter than your height – seek shade during this time.

Cover up

Protect your skin with clothing such as sunglasses, hat and shirt

Sunscreen know how to use it

·         Use at least SPF 15

·         Use a ‘broad spectrum’ (UVA and UVB protection) sunscreen with a 4* rating

·         Reapply regularly and generously

·         Most sunscreens expire after 1-2 years so make sure yours is in date

·         Cheaper sunscreens can be just as effective as the expensive ones

·         Don’t rely on sunscreen as your only form of protection

·         No sunscreen gives 100% protection so don’t be tempted to stay out longer

Never binge-tan

Intense intermittent exposure or ‘binge-tanning’, whether on Devon beaches or on holiday abroad increases your risk of malignant melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer

Remember the ABCD Rule

If you notice any of the following signs, then see your doctor without delay

Asymmetry The two halves of your mole do not look the same

Border   The edges of your mole are irregular, blurred or jagged

Colour  The colour of your mole is uneven with more than one shade

Diameter  Your mole is wider than 6mm in diameter (the size of a pencil eraser)

What if I notice a change

If you are concerned about skin changes then visit your doctor without delay

Any changes in a mole, freckle or normal patch of skin that occurs quickly, over weeks or months, should be taken seriously

Call 111 when you need medical help fast but it’s not a 999 emergencyNHS ChoicesThis site is brought to you by My Surgery Website