Dr Shadan Naji, Dermatologist and Cosmetic Medicine, Valiant Clinic, shares some tips to protect yourself from skin cancer
Skin cancer is one of the common cancers affecting people. Although daunting, what few people realise is that, if caught early, it is fully curable. Success rates for curing skin cancer and managing the disease over a person’s lifetime is very high, only if detected early.
Skin cancer can originate from any part of the body, but most commonly shows up on skin that has had prolonged exposure to sunlight. This especially applies to areas that have been exposed the sun for years.
One of the most important keys to skin cancer prevention is proper sun protection, especially for light-toned skin. However, skin cancer can affect anyone, so we all need to be careful.
You must use sunscreen on a daily basis. Apply about half an hour before you leave home, and ensure that areas directly exposed to the sun, like the face and arms are properly covered. Even if you don’t spend extended amounts of time in the sun, you should still apply sunscreen if you are stepping out.
If you do have to be outside, try to avoid exposure to sunlight when the rays are the strongest – between 10 am and 4 pm. If you do have to be outside during these hours, make sure you apply sunscreen and replenish regularly, and wear clothing that covers your body effectively.
Sunburnt skin is also more susceptible to develop cancer, and children need special protection. The effect of sunscreen lasts for about 2-3 hours, so it is important to reapply especially if children are playing outside for prolonged periods of time.
The final step to early detection of skin cancer is periodic examination, especially of anomalies like moles on the skin or any new lesions that appear. Regular checks will help early diagnosis and correct management, and help full recovery.
People with light-toned skin should have regular check-ups with a dermatologist, so you can detect malignancy in time.
Protection is always better than cure though, so follow the tips above and keep yourself safe.
Dr. Shadan Naji