Public unable to recognise signs of skin cancer

skin check upA recent study by Nuffield Health has found that half of the British public do not believe they are at risk of skin cancer, with over a third saying they did not know how to identify the symptoms. 

Although everyone has heard the warnings about the link between sunburn and skin cancer, a third of people admit to getting burnt at least once a year and, even more shockingly, nearly a quarter of parents let their child get sunburnt at least once a year as well. This is particularly worrying as most skin damage from UV exposure occurs before the age of twenty and can take up to thirty years to manifest.

Perhaps because the British climate is stereotypically cloudy and rainy, people in this country are more complacent than elsewhere. However the NHS advises people to wear sunscreen every day, and reapply regularly, regardless of the weather or season.

A minimum sun screen factor of 30 is recommended. And remember everyone can get sunburnt, whether fair skinned or dark.

While the public has become increasingly aware of the need to examine themselves for the warning signs of other cancers, such as looking for breast lumps, people generally do not look for signs of skin cancer. Many admit they would not recognise the symptoms even if they did see them. 

Individuals should get to know their skin so they can recognise any changes. While many moles will remain harmless, there are certain signs and changes to look out for. These include moles with irregular or blurred edges, uneven colour, asymmetrical halves or those wider than 6mm in diameter. Other symptoms may include moles which scab or bleed, hurt or itch, or ones which will not heal. If you notice any of these symptoms, do not hesitate to contact your doctor. An annual skin check by your GP is also recommended, especially for those who spend a lot of time outdoors.

Using sunscreen does not merely help protect against skin cancer. This is because UV rays do much more than just tan you. The UVA rays present penetrate deep into the skin, damaging its collagen fibres so that the skin looses elasticity. It leads to premature ageing and unsightly sun spots, especially in those with naturally fairer skin, and hyper-pigmentation in those who are darker. Far from improving your looks, it can make a person look older than they actually are. 

Have a confidential consultation with a member of our team.
Call us now on 020 3405 3740 or Request a Consultation

Pin It