MELANOMA: Expert recommends over 60s remain skin vigilant.
MELANOMA: Expert recommends over 60s remain skin vigilant. Saturated

Cover up! Expert warns against cancer complacency

EVEN though Australia has dropped down the ranking list to second highest country reporting incidences of melanoma, there is still great concern for how we look after our skin.

The over 60s particularly are still recording peak numbers. Melanoma Institute of Australia chief executive officer Carole Renouf said this is due to many years of over-exposure to UV. "This is before we knew about sunscreen and sun safety," Ms Renouf added.

She recommends we cover, monitor and act to protect our skin.

Cover up

It's never too late to protect your skin even if you have sun damage from your younger years, Ms Renouf advises.

  • Stay out of the sun at the hottest time of the day; from 11am to 3pm.
  • Use SPF 50 blocker, and apply at least 15 to 20 minutes before going outside.
  • Reapply the blocker ever two hours.
  • Wear a broad-brimmed hat with a brim of at least 7cm, rather than using a baseball cap.
  • Seek shade wherever possible.
  • Wear UV protection clothing when in the sun.

Monitor your skin

  • Know the skin you are in by keeping a regular eye on it.
  • Look for change, particularly if you have a lot of moles and freckles - colour, size, asymmetry, border, itching or bleeding.
  • Get your skin checked by your GP or a dermatologist.

Protect

  • You can prevent further damage. "It's also largely preventable if you use the right sun safety measures," Ms Renouf said.

"Melanoma is one form of skin cancer," Ms Renouf said. "Many people don't realise, it's the most deadly one. It only represents two per cent of all skin cancers, but it causes 75 per cent of skin cancer deaths.

"You want to find out early. If it's there it is very treatable provided you get it early."

Details of the Melanoma March national awareness program and fundraising for research campaign is at www.melanomamarch.org.au.


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