With summer and warmer temperatures just around the corner, it is important to stay safe in the sun.
Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun can cause damage to the skin and lead to skin cancer – the most common form of cancer in the UK. But UV overexposure is in fact, the main preventable cause of skin cancer.
Read on to find out how to stay safe in the sun this summer.
What is skin cancer?
There are two types of skin cancer- melanoma and non-melanoma.
Melanoma is less common, but is the most dangerous.
Here, we look at the two types of skin cancer and ways in which we can reduce the risk of getting them. Though skin cancer can be fatal, if detected early most skin cancers can be treated successfully.
What is melanoma?
Melanoma is a type of skin cancer, which arises from the pigment cells (melanocytes) in the skin. One of the main causes of melanoma is exposure to too much ultraviolet light in sunlight. The use of sunbeds also increases the risk.
Melanoma can develop in an existing mole or can appear as a new mole. This is the most dangerous of the two skin cancers as it can spread to other parts of the body, but 86% of melanoma skin cancer cases in the UK are preventable (Cancer Research UK).
What is non-melanoma?
This type of skin cancer usually appears gradually and can vary greatly in appearance. Things to look out for:
A persistent rough, scaly patch of skin that may be flat or raised.
A lump or ulcer which could be red, pink, or flesh coloured.
Painful or bleeding lumps and bumps.
Checking your skin regularly
Checking your skin once a month is ideal. Here are our top tips on getting to know your skin and spotting changes early:
Ask a family member to look at your back, and areas of your skin you cannot see yourself.
Pay attention to areas that are most exposed to the sun, for example, the head, neck and ears.
Look for anything that is inflamed, growing, bleeding, crusting, red around the edges, itchy and painful, or changing in any way.
Seek advice if you notice any mole changes, new moles or abnormal skin changes.
How can I best protect my skin?
Both types of skin cancer are strongly linked to overexposure to ultraviolet rays. UV rays from the sun can damage your skin through cloud, windows, and even when it doesn’t feel warm outside.
Avoid sunbeds as they carry a risk of overexposure to ultraviolet rays too.
Use sun protection with at least SPF 25 and UVA 4 stars. Wear sunglasses with 100% UV protection. Wear a broad-brim hat, and cover up where you can.
Does vitamin D deficiency cause skin cancer?
There isn’t enough evidence to link low levels of vitamin D to cancer.
But vitamin D deficiency can cause other health conditions, including rickets in children and bone problems in adults.
The sun is instrumental for our bodies to produce Vitamin D. Yet we are told to cover up in the sun and avoid overexposure.
At the London House of Wellbeing, apart from giving expert advice on the best ways to protect your skin, we can look at your Vitamin D levels too. So if you are deficient, we can advise on the best ways to supplement your body, without overexposing yourself to the sun.
How can The London House of Wellbeing help you?
Our expert team of pharmacists are here to offer healthcare advice on skin cancer so don’t hesitate to get in touch. We are qualified to assess if you require a referral and will happily help you find the right person. We offer Vitamin D testing, as well as a range of other health screening tests. Get in touch today!
Useful websites for further information on skin cancer: