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As the sun shines on our faces, experts urge caution regarding risk of melanoma – Winnipeg

As the sun shines on our faces, experts urge caution regarding risk of melanoma – Winnipeg
As the sun shines on our faces, experts urge caution regarding risk of melanoma – Winnipeg

 


As summer officially gets underway and more hot, sunny days are expected, experts are stressing the need to protect ourselves from dangerous, potentially cancer-causing ultraviolet rays.

According to the Canadian Cancer Society, more than 11,000 Canadians Malignant melanoma1,300 people die from the disease, but if detected early, the five-year survival rate is 99 percent.

Elizabeth Holmes of the Canadian Cancer Society says it's very important to practice sun protection measures.

“Check the UV index, seek shade whenever possible, cover up, wear a hat and sunglasses, and properly apply sunscreen to any skin that will be exposed to the sun,” Holmes says.

According to local dermatologist Victoria Tarasca, a common mistake when it comes to applying sunscreen is only applying it once when you're going to be outdoors for an extended period of time.

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“Reapply every two to four hours,” Taraska says. “It takes about a shot glass of sunscreen to cover your entire body, so we usually apply less. Don't forget lips, ears, straps and under your swimsuit, as these are areas that are often forgotten and prone to sunburn.”

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Taraska recommends using a Canadian Dermatology Association-approved sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. One sunburn as a child increases the risk of melanoma, and five sunburns increase the risk by 80 percent, so it's important to start wearing sunscreen at a young age, Taraska said.

One way to check for moles that may pose a skin hazard is to follow the “ABCDE” rule.

A – Asymmetric (one side of the mole is a different shape than the other)
B – Border (if the mole has uneven or irregular edges)
C – Color (if the mole has different shades)
D – Diameter (if the mole is larger than 6 mm)
E – Changing (if the mole changes shape or color over time)

Holmes says if a mole fits any of these criteria, it should be checked.

Taraska said there is a huge shortage of dermatologists in Manitoba and the city and province need twice as many as they currently have.

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But if family doctors work together to biopsy moles, if melanoma is found, it could be treated by a dermatologist more urgently than for other skin cancers, she says.

© 2024 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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