The carefree days of the summer are growing closer and closer, but so are the days of making sure your skin is protected from skin cancer.
“Melanoma is a very serious form of skin cancer. It is a cancer of melanocytes, where cells that produce melanin, the pigment that is primarily responsible for giving skin its colour,” according to the Melanoma Network of Canada’s website.
“The Leading cause of melanoma is overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or artificial sources.”
Melanoma Monday is a worldwide skin cancer awareness day that reminds us to cover up and be sun safe while we enjoy the hot summers the Okanagan is known for
“It’s unbelievable to think that every year, just over 80,000 are diagnosed with skin cancer and even more scary is that every hour one person dies in North America,” said Dr. Ben Wiese, Kelowna Skin Cancer Clinic.
In Canada, Melanoma is the seventh most common cancer type found in Canadians between the ages of 15 to 49.
“We really need to really create that awareness and know that if you are at risk you know the signs to look for,” said Dr. Ben Wiese with Kelowna Skin Cancer Clinic.
Dr Wiese’s top tips for preventing Melanoma can be easily followed. He recommends checking the UV Index for the day on the Canadian Government website or on your preferred weather app.
When the UV Rays are a 3 or higher, between April and September seek shade, stay indoors, or wear protective clothing.
“Protect your skin very very aggressively,” said Dr. Wiese. “UV protective clothing is very important if you are at risk. the emphasis should never be on sunscreen because we never use enough.”
However, he does recommend using a generous amount of sunscreen no matter what on areas exposed to the sun that cannot be covered by clothing such as your face, hands or legs.
Dr. Wiese also says to monitor any freckles, lesions or sun spots for changes or ones that may look out of the ordinary. If there is a specific marking that looks suspicious then speak to your doctor.