Stay safe in the sun this summer – that’s the message from Bowls England as clubs across the country open their doors for the start of the 2019 season.
Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the UK, with a particularly sharp rise in the number of cases since the 1970s.
Sports and hobbies that see people outside in the sun tend to increase the risk of excessive sun exposure, which can cause premature skin ageing, sun damage and skin cancer.
The good news is that skin cancer is largely preventable, and with proper practices can be detected early and successfully treated.
Tony Allcock MBE, Bowls England Chief Executive, said: “A typical British summer doesn’t always give us the weather and glorious sunshine that perhaps we’d hope for. It can therefore be easy to overlook the need for sun protection in England. If you’re going to be outside playing bowls this summer, it’s important to remember to protect yourself from the sun. In an ideal world, you should avoid being outside between 11am and 3pm on days when the UV forecast is high. If that’s not feasible, then make sure you have plenty of sun protection.”
The British Association of Dermatologists, which will run its annual Sun Awareness Week from 6th to 12th May, advises making use of shade and protective clothing such as hats and sunglasses, with sunscreen used to supplement this. It advises choosing one with an SPF 30 or above, with a minimum 4-star UVA protection rating.
Although prevention is better than a cure, knowing how to spot signs of skin cancer is essential for effective treatment. The best way to check for skin cancer is to carry out regular skin examinations, ideally once a month. Early detection can help to reduce the risk of developing a larger, more serious skin cancer that may need extensive surgery or treatment.
The British Association of Dermatologists advises that you should be looking for:
• New skin lumps, spots, ulcers, scaly patches or moles that weren’t there before
• Marks (including moles) on the skin that have changed shape, colour, texture or size
• Sores that do not heal
• Any areas on the skin that are itchy, painful or bleed
If there are moles that you want to keep an eye on then it’s a good idea to take a picture of them, preferably with something, such as a coin, for scale. This will be a good reference point so that you can easily tell if there have been any changes. If in doubt, get it checked out by your GP.
This article has been written in collaboration with the British Association of Dermatologists. For more information please visit: www.skinhealthinfo.org.uk