Skin Cancer Has 3 Main Types
1) Basal Cell Carcinoma,
2) Squamous Cell Carcinoma,
3) And Malignant Melanoma.
Who Is Most At Risk For Skin Cancer?
✔ Those with fair skin, particularly if you have red hair, moles, or skin spots.
✔ Have a family history of melanoma, as according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, 1 in 10 patients have a close family member with skin cancer.
✔ You work or do sports outdoors (basically have lots of exposure to the sun).
Skin Cancer In South Africa
South Africa’s beautiful, but harsh, climate means we have one of the highest monitored ultraviolet (UV) levels in the world. This means we have one of the top occurrences of skin cancer globally.
So monitoring for skin cancer is really important. The best thing you can do is be aware of it, and get tested. Keep in mind that the risk is particularly bad in summer, when the sun’s UV rays do the most damage.
Learn more on how to be SunSmart using CANSA’s information sheet by clicking here.
How Can you Avoid Skin Cancer?
✔ At least 80% of damage to the skin from the sun develops before the age of 18 and doesn’t turn up until later in life.
✔ Whether in the pool, at the beach, at playtime, or at college, it is important to take preventative measures when kids are in the sun.
✔ Never expose toddlers under one-year-old to direct sunlight.
What Is Melanin? How It Protects Against The Sun
People with darker skin tones are less likely to develop skin cancer because their skin has more natural melanin, which shields against sun damage.
Melanin is a substance in the body that produces hair, eye and skin pigmentation. The more that is there, the darker the pigmentation (colour) in your skin.
Melanin gives protection against the UV rays of the sun. But, this pigmination does not give you 1000% protection so people who are darker in complexion still need to use sunscreen and take the same precautions (Wright, 2020).
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