Image courtesy of Newcastle Air Conditioning Company ACI
Excessive exposure to harmful UV rays from the sun can increase the risk of skin conditions, including various types of cancer. Whilst almost all of us are aware of the risks involved with sun damaged skin, it is still a common scene at beaches, backyards, pools, schools, sporting fields and worksites all around the country.
Australia is blessed with beautiful beaches and countryside, making it very enticing to spend our time outdoors. With over 11 500 men and women being diagnosed with melanoma in Australia each year, along with around 434 000 people developing non-melanoma cancers, mostly from too much sun, we can see that this is a very serious issue. Too often, we shrug off the risks associated with getting a little too much sun, thinking that “one time can’t hurt”. It’s an easy thing to do, because most of the time, being out in the sunlight generally means we are having fun. Sunlight feels good on our skin, and the dangers tend to slip our minds when we are enjoying ourselves. However, the list of harmful skin conditions that can develop from too much sun are a constant reminder of the need to be sun safe:
- Melanoma – Fast growing and potentially life threatening in as little as 6 weeks from developing
- Basal Cell Carcinoma – The most common type of skin cancer, BCC usually grows slowly and is commonly found around the face, neck and ears.
- Squamous Cell Carcinoma –Not as dangerous as melanoma, but can spread to other parts of the body if not diagnosed and treated early.
Every time your skin is exposed to excessive UV rays, changes to the cells within your skin can occur. This can result in a range of different types of cancer developing in the outer layers of the skin. Whilst skin cancer is treatable in the large majority of cases, undiagnosed cancers can spread throughout the body and cause complicated health issues. The most effective way to reduce the dangers of too much sun is to make sun protection a regimented part of your family’s’ routine. Think of it as a non-negotiable element of planning your leisure activities, and try to instil this mindset in your kids as the habits they form as children will probably be carried into their adult lives. Check out the Cancer Council of Australia’s tips for protecting yourself and your family from the sun.