May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month

Skin cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in Northern Ireland. It is most common in people over 50, or people who have had prolonged exposure to the sun.  It can be treated very successfully if diagnosed early.

Check your skin once a month for any changes or for any suspicious looking spots. Ask someone to check areas you cannot see!

What to look out for

Check your skin for spots that:

  • Change size, shape or colour
  • Appear different to the rest (the ugly duckling)
  • Are asymmetric or have uneven borders
  • Feel rough or scaly (sometimes you can feel lesions before you see them)
  • Are multi-coloured
  • Are itchy
  • Are bleeding or oozing
  • Look pearly
  • Look like a wound but do not heal

Don’t ignore a spot / mole with changes like these. See your GP and get it checked out.

UV rays are the largest contributing factor in developing skin cancer. Harmful rays can still damage your skin even when it doesn’t feel hot outside.

Top Tips:

  • Don’t get sunburnt
  • Use a ‘high protection’ sunscreen, at least SPF 30 and with high UVA protection
  • Apply sunscreen generously, 15 -30 mins before going out in sun and frequently thereafter
  • Don’t forget to apply sunscreen to tops of ears, sides of nose and back of neck
  • Cover up with clothing, hats, sunglasses and shade
  • Avoid being in the sun when it is at its strongest, between 12.00 and 15.00
  • All babies and children require protection from sun exposure
  • Never use sunbeds
  • Report any mole changes to your GP eg colour, shape and size

For more information visit: www.cancerresearchuk.org