Because this disease can affect anyone, everyone should take steps to reduce their risk and prevent melanoma. How can you prevent getting the most dangerous skin cancer?
How to prevent melanoma?
Every hour, on average, one person dies of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.
Research in understanding the causes of melanoma continues to advance. Some studies have shown that nearly 90% are considered to be preventable, although there is no guaranteed way to prevent melanoma.
Some risk factors, such as age, gender, race, and family history, cannot be controlled. What we do know is that exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light is the primary environmental contributor to melanoma.
So there are things you can do that could lower your risk of getting melanoma and other skin cancers. Because this disease can affect anyone, everyone should take steps to reduce their risk.
Can melanoma be prevented?
Short answer – in most cases, yes it can.
Here is some information and are some preventative measures you can adopt to help keep yourself “sun-safe”.
Melanoma prevention methods
Here are 5 lifestyle changes that will prevent your melanoma skin cancer risk.
1. Check yourself and your loved one’s skin
Once every three months make sure to check your skin from head to toe. Check your partner’s and your child’s skin as well: some risky spots can appear in places we don’t normally see such as your scalp, back, and ears.
2. Use sunscreen with SPF 30
You don’t need to be spending the day at the beach to need protection from sun rays. Make sure to apply sunscreen to the exposed parts of your body such as face, neck, and hands. The strength of the sun rays on any given day gives you an indication of how you should protect yourself against the sun.
3. Say “no” to tanning beds
The latest research shows that even moderate exposure to tanning beds increases the risk of developing melanoma significantly. This is the reason why Australia has banned them altogether, leading the way for other countries to do so as well.
If you say “no” to tanning beds you will prevent yourself for melanoma.
4. Cover up and seek shade
Limit your exposure to UV rays by wearing hats and cotton shirts that cover your shoulders, chest and back properly. Don’t forget to seek shade especially in the hottest hours – 11 am to 4 pm.
5. Check your nails
While painted nails are pretty, removing the nail polish from your fingers and toes once a month and checking your nails can be a lifesaver. Skin cancer lesions may also appear under nails, not just on the skin exposed to the sun.
If you use the above 5 tips as a routine, you are on a good track to prevent melanoma.
In addition, it is very important to perform skin checks on a monthly basis.
Check yourself from head to toe every month. Use our SkinVision App to keep track of moles.
When you check yourself keep an eye out for irregular moles with the ABCDE melanoma self check method.
It will also be very good to see a dermatologist at least once a year.
What does Melanoma look like?
Melanomas often appear as a new spot or existing spot, freckle or mole that has changed in color shape or size. They can have an unusual shape or color or a variety of colours and in some cases, they may not be colored at all.
View: Melanoma pictures
Who is at risk of Melanoma?
Skin type and family history play a big part in the risk factor. The fair-skinned of us are the most prone to Melanoma. This is due to the fact that their skin burns more quickly than people with darker skin (for eg African-American and Asian People).
In saying that there is one type of melanoma that tends to occur on the soles of feet, palms of hands and under the nails in people with darker skin. No-one is immune it seems.
More on: Who is at risk for melanoma?
New Zealand has, together with Australia, the highest melanoma incidence in the world. The combination of skin type and UV impact from the sun put the inhibitors of New Zealand at high risk. So let’s take a closer look at the current melanoma situation in NZ.
How SkinVision can help you!
SkinVision enables you to check your skin spots for signs of skin cancer within 30 seconds. Our algorithm is currently at the level of a specialist dermatologist.
In skin spots with a potential health risk, SkinVision provides feedback about the preferred next step to take.
SkinVision also enables you to store photos to keep track of changes over time, helping you to monitor your health in the long term.
The efficient and easy-to-use solution is available for iOS and Android and helps to make skin monitoring a simple routine.
Ready to take the first photo?
Download SkinVision from the App Store or Google Play and start checking your skin now.