Skin cancer: A deadly world number 1 for Australia
Getting my skin cancer removed cut to the heart, wrote Helen Pitt for The Sydney Morning Herald.
Let me get something off my chest: That would be a malignant melanoma. Two to be precise. And to be fair I let a surgeon take the cancerous lesions off my chest under general anaesthetic in hospital.
A regular (but overdue) trip to the skin specialist revealed the opalesque lump right at my decolletage; the very heart of my womanhood. “A bugger of a spot,” the surgeon said as he sketched a “third eye” on my chest, mapping the incision mark in ink.
It all happened so quickly: biopsy, bruise, doctor, hospital date, surgeon, stitches all within days. Of course, there was no question it should be removed. I’m more than well acquainted with how the ragged claws of cancer can suddenly scuttle into your life; I’ve had it kill too many people I love not to act swiftly.
Although the diagnosis and surgery seemed fast, the melanomas had likely been growing for years. Sydney summers spent swimming plus pale, frecklish complexion spell skin cancer candidate. I’m now simply a statistic; one of the two in three Australians who will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the time they are 70, according to the Melanoma Institute. With the highest rate of skin cancer deaths in the world, what Australian would be crazy enough to dally about doing something to remedy the situation.
Full story here.
Skin cancer prevention guidelines
Since its inception in 1979, The Skin Cancer Foundation has always recommended using a sunscreen with an SPF 15 or higher as one important part of a complete sun protection regimen. Sunscreen alone is not enough, however. Read our full list of skin cancer prevention tips. If you don’t want to end up like the scaly pair photographer (fromWiki Commons), you will act on them.
- Seek the shade, especially between 10 AM and 4 PM
- Do not burn
- Avoid tanning and UV tanning beds
- Cover up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses
- Use a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day. For extended outdoor activity, use a water-resistant, broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher
- Apply 2 tablespoons of sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside.Reapply every two hours or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating
- Keep newborns out of the sun. Sunscreens should be used on babies over the age of six months
- Examine your skin head-to-toe every month
- See your physician every year for a professional skin exam