Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world and although anyone can develop it, the risk increases significantly as you get older.
Although skin cancer is one of the most preventable cancers, it accounts for around 80 per cent of all new cases diagnosed in Australia each year.
Skin cancer occurs when the UV radiation in sunlight damages the skin and causes cells to mutate and grow into cancers.
Over time, the texture of skin naturally changes and too much sun exposure will put your skin at risk. Seniors in particular should avoid sun exposure as much as possible because their skin is fragile and more vulnerable to sun damage.
Others at risk include people who have multiple moles and/or freckles, fair skin that burns easily and those who have had a lot of sun exposure over their lifetime.
The good news is the majority of skin cancers can be prevented by covering up and using adequate sun protection.
Cancer Council recommends that you adopt all five methods of sun protection to reduce your skin cancer risk:
- Slip on sun protective clothing
- Slop on broad-spectrum, water-resistant SPF30 or higher sunscreen
- Slap on a hat
- Seek shade
- Slide on wrap-around sunglasses
Being SunSmart everyday, even in the cooler months or in cloudy weather, will dramatically reduce your skin cancer risk.
It’s important to know your own skin and to check it regularly for any changes or signs of skin cancer.
If a new spot or lesion appears or if an existing one changes shape, colour or size, visit your doctor immediately.
Two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the time they are 70, however nearly all skin cancers can be cured if detected and treated early.
For more information about skin cancer visit www.cancer.org.au or phone 13 11 20.
Source: Cancer Council Queensland