Staying Safe in the Summer Sun

by Sarah Jones
Summer Sun

Did you know that New Zealand has the highest incident rate of melanoma in the world?

Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer? In fact it is the second highest registered cancer amongst men and women aged 25-44. A third of melanomas occur in people aged 45-64. Death rates are higher amongst men and in 2012 354 people (222 men) died of melanoma.Overall the number of deaths from melanoma exceeded the road toll, and just like road accidents the majority of them are preventable. It really is a National Cancer, and the incidence of melanoma is expected to rise over the next six years before declining. However, if it is diagnosed early then it is very treatable by surgery, but when it has spread internally, the outcome is not good. Keep ahead of the game.

How to reduce your risk

The high risk factors for developing melanoma include increase in age, people with lots of sun damage or blistering sunburn, a personal or family history of melanoma, being fair skinned and red headed. Men are at higher risk than women.

Most skin cancers can be prevented by using sun protection. The secret is to watch out for the sun’s harmful rays in the daylight saving months from September to April especially when the UV index is high. This means slipping on a long sleeved shirt, slopping on plenty of broad spectrum 30SPF or above sunscreen, slapping on a broad brimmed hat to protect the ears and neck and wrapping on a pair of sunnies. We also recommend seeking shade during peak periods and particularly during work breaks. We all need some vitamin D so the best time to get some sun on your skin is in the early hours of the morning or later in the day when the Ultra violet index is lower in the summer, or during the middle of the day in winter.

If you are an outdoor worker, remember to monitor your time in the sun during work, especially if you are out playing sport at the weekend or running around with your kids. You can also be a great role model for your family.

Monitoring your skin

Checking your entire body regularly could save your life. Use your bathroom mirror, or get a friend or partner to check difficult to see areas, such as your back. This is one of the common areas for melanoma to appear in men. It can also occur on the soles of the feet, palms of the hands, in your hair & ears and under the nails. Look out for changes or new moles – follow the ugly duckling rule- if you notice some changes get to your doctor and seek advice. FACT – Did you know that Bob Marley died of melanoma originating under his toe nail? For more info on early detection, what to expect of a full skin check and how to check your skin go to www.melanoma.org.nz/melanoma/early-detection/

What are the options for full body skin checks?

NZProvide have a range of skin check options available for individuals and groups. We work with qualified dermatologists to ensure that your staff are getting the best check possible.

If you have staff who work outdoors or you simply want to provide an avenue for early identification get in touch with us today.

Keep safe and don’t delay. Melanoma.org.nz