13 April 2019

After Australia, South Africa has the highest incidence of skin cancer in the world! More than 700 people die each year in our country. The three most common types of skin cancers are basal cell carcinoma (BCC), squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and malignant melanoma.

More than 90% of skin cancer is caused by sun exposure:

  • Non-melanoma is caused by the UVB rays from the sun and Melanoma (The deadliest form of skin cancer) by UVA rays. Protecting you children against UV exposure is VERY IMPORTANT! One bad burn in childhood, doubles the risk factor for skin cancer as an adult.
  • 1 in 3 Caucasians will be diagnosed with skin cancer sometime in their life.
  • Skin cancer is the most common cancer in men over 50.

Look out for:

  • A small lump (spot or mole) that is shiny, waxy, pale in colour, and smooth in texture.
  • A red lump (spot or mole) that is firm.
  • A sore or spot that bleeds or become crusty. Also look for sores that don’t heal.
  • Rough and scaly patches on the skin.
  • Flat scaly areas of the skin that are red or brown.
  • Any new growth that is suspicious.

Owing to the hole in the ozone layer (known to protect the earth from the sun), South Africa is receiving increased amounts of UVA and UVB rays from the sun), therefore sunscreens must have broad spectrum protection abilities.

The good news is that skin cancer can be prevented by respecting the sun.