Skin Awareness...Acheiving Your "Healthy Glow" Can Lead to Cancer

posted on June 20, 2012

Summer is officially here (although it feels like it has been here since March this year) which is all the more reason to consider your skin health.  In Canada, we experience so many months of darkness, we can’t wait to break out our summer gear and soak up those bright rays; but as the sun gets stronger, I warn you to proceed with caution (or perhaps, not proceed at all!).

Skin cancer is on the rise, including the very serious and most deadly skin cancer, Melanoma.  This is a cancer that affects all ages, genders and races but has a higher affinity for those of light complexion, eyes and hair.  This means, the most common people looking to "get their tan on", are at the highest risk!  Currently, one in 74 individuals is affected with Melanoma. If caught too late, they can lose their lives to this aggressive, terminal cancer.  The worst part is it very preventable!  By limiting your sun exposure and using safe and effective sunscreens you can prevent the damaging skin changes that are caused by sun radiation.

Did you know that only one severe sunburn can double your risk of Melanoma?  Also the use tanning beds (even if sporadically) has also been associated with dramatically heightened risks.

Watch this poignant video of Canadians affected by Melamona.

Skin Checks

You know your body better than anyone else, so don’t depend on someone else to find a suspicious lesion.  Perform regular skin checks and monitor those freckles, moles, lumps and bumps.  Get to know your ABCDE(FG)`s of melanoma signs:

• Asymmetry
• Borders (irregular)
• Color (variegated),
• Diameter (greater than 6 mm)
• Evolving over time

For Nodular Melanoma watch for

• Elevated above the skin surface
• Firm to the touch
• Growing

The skin is the largest organ of the body and is just as important to your overall health as any other organ. Don’t let it be too late before you think about your skin health and sun behaviour!

Talk to your ND about safe options for sun protection.  The higher the SPF is not necessarily better for you although it offers more sun protection.

The information here was adapted from The Melanoma Network of Canada. For further details check out

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