Skin cancer affects both men and women and unfortunately it is on the rise in Ireland. Many skin changes will be harmless. But if you notice new or changing moles visit your doctor without delay. Spotting it early and getting it treated as soon as possible can save your life.
There are two types of Skin Cancer.
- A new growth or sore that does not heal within four weeks
- A spot or sore that continues to itch, hurt, crust, scab or bleed
- Constant skin ulcers that are not explained by other causes.
Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer but it is also the rarest. However, the number of new cases diagnosed in Ireland each year continues to rise. Melanoma most often appears as a new or changing mole on your skin. The important changes to look for are changes in shape, size and colour of your moles:
Shape: change from a round and regular shape to ragged edges or an irregular shape.
Size: change from small (the size of the butt of a pencil) to bigger or smaller.
Colour: change from one colour to many shades of tan, brown or black, sometimes white, red or blue.
Other warning signs could be:
- Finding an unusual sore, lump, blemish or mark
- Change in the way an area of your skin looks or feels
- Your skin might become scaly or crusty or begin to ooze or bleed
- Your skin may feel itchy, tender or painful
- Redness and swelling may develop
Some tips to protect you from the sun include:
- Slip on a t-shirt and long shorts made of closely woven fabric
- Slap on a hat that gives shade to the eyes, ears and back of neck
- Seek shade especially from 11am to 3pm, when UV rays are at their strongest
- Slop on sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher and UVA protection
- Apply sunscreen at least twenty minutes before you head out into the sun
- Wrap on sunglasses that give UV protection
For more information on Skin Cancer check out www.cancer.ie/sunsmart/