A recent survey by a leading cancer charity found the number of skin cancer cases in the UK are now over 13,000 a year. Skin cancer is now one of the most common forms of cancer – and unlike other forms of cancer it’s on the rise.
Now, if you develop a suspicious looking mole or skin lesion your first step should be to seek assessment by a medical professional such as consultant dermatologist Dr Maria Gonzalez. At the Specialist Skin Clinic in Cardiff she offers Mole Check and Mole Mapping services and, unlike other mole check centres, she is able to offer excision of the mole in-clinic if necessary.
However, prevention is always better than cure, so here we list the top three skin cancer mistakes that we commonly make and what you can do to avoid them.
# 1 Just because there is no family history of skin cancer you think you’re fine
Genetics do play a role in the development of skin cancer but personal medical history plays a far greater role. If you have been sunburnt repeatedly in the past, used sun beds frequently or have a large number of moles, then you should keep an eye on your existing moles and lesions and monitor any changes.
For patients with a large number of moles – usually considered as 50 or more – it can be difficult to track new moles or keep an eye on any changes to existing moles. It was for this reason that Dr Maria Gonzalez started offering Mole Mapping at the Cardiff Specialist Skin Clinic. As well as on-the-spot analysis using the most up-to-date imaging software, it also allows the experts to record images which can be used on follow-up examinations to monitor any changes.
# 2 You don’t believe that you’ve had too much over-exposure to the sun
Although many people don’t believe they’ve had too much exposure to the sun, it’s thought that having had five sunburns over a lifetime can double the risk of developing a melanoma. Also, even if you only had an occasional sun bed when you were a teenager, your have significantly increased your odds of developing a melanoma.
If you’ve been sunburnt or used tanning beds in the past, be extra diligent about your skin health and consider annual checks such as the Mole Mapping service offered at the Cardiff Specialist Skin Clinic.
# 3 You think you can apply a layer of sun protection and you’re good
Although the sun protection message does seem to have now got through, most people don’t put enough sun cream on and don’t reapply enough to protect themselves.
Early detection can make a crucial difference in the treatment of skin cancer and self-examination can be fantastically important. However, an annual check-up by an experienced and qualified should also become a must.