My skin cancer experience and why it’s so important to look after your skin and stay safe in the sun!
Before I handover to our super blog writer, I wanted to take a moment to share my own personal experience……
I was diagnosed with skin cancer, aged 21, having just finished uni and it was that day that my world fell apart. I have no idea what caused it, although the fact I went on sunbeds at uni I’m sure didn’t help. I hated being the pale girl, so tried to top up my tan that way. There were also a couple of occasions on girly holidays, when we’d get to the last day and all my friends would have a fabulous tan and I’d look paler than the day we arrived! Desperately trying to catch those last rays, I’d drop the factor right down or even go without for those last few hours. Absolute stupidity I know, but there just wasn’t the awareness then that there is now.
It may sound dramatic, but the day I heard the word cancer, I immediately thought I was going to die. At that time, everyone I’d known who’d had cancer, had passed away . Thanks to the amazing NHS, my mum and best friend, I got through it and in the best possible way. Fifteen years later though and I’m still being monitored at the hospital and I think I’m on my 8th mole removal now. Sadly, this whole experience has made me so scared of the sun and all my friends will confirm that while everyone else is bursting with delight when they see a hot, sunny day, it’s my worst nightmare and the panic sets in.
My anxiety and heartache around this subject only worsened, when last year I lost my incredible father in law to skin cancer.
It is a vile, horrible, cruel disease and one that in many cases can be avoided with good sun safety. I wouldn’t wish my experiences on anyone, so I urge each and everyone of you to stay safe in the sun by following all the super advice below.
And finally, look after little ones and children in this heat, they may be so busy playing that they don’t even notice they’re starting to burn until it’s too late. For grown ups nowadays, we have so many incredible fake tan solutions to choose from, risking burning to get a great tan that will probably only last 2 or 3 weeks is not worth the pain and suffering that comes from being diagnosed with skin cancer…..believe me.
Kathryn, STAG Mumbler x
Guest blog by Christina Driver, Skcin.
Did you know that skin cancer is the most common cancer in the UK? More people die from skin cancer in the UK than in Australia. 86% of all skin cancers are caused by over exposure to the sun / sunbeds.
Here at national skin cancer charity, Skcin our primary objectives are to raise awareness of skin cancer and promote the importance of sun safety and early detection through national educational initiatives and targeted campaigns.
Here are some handy tips on how to keep your family safe in the sun:
Follow the UV index, a rating system adopted from the World Health Organisation and provided by the MET Office in the UK. It determines your level of exposure to UV radiation. The higher the number, the stronger the levels of solar UVR and the less time it takes for damage to the skin to occur. It ranges from 1 being low to 11 being Extreme. Surprisingly, in the UK the UV Index can reach 8. When the UV Index shows 3 or above, make sure you follow the steps below:
FIVE S’s OF SUN SAFETY
1. SLIP on a t-shirt – clothing can be one of the most effective barriers from the sun
2. SLOP on SPF 30+ sunscreen – make sure it’s broad spectrum and carries a UVA symbol (if it has a star-rating, use minimum 4 stars)
3. SLAP on a broad brimmed hat – wear a wide brimmed or Legionnaire hat to shade the face, neck and ears
4. SLIDE on quality sunglasses – Look for the European CE mark (which ranges from 1-10) which will provide best protection
5. SHADE from the sun when possible – Seek shade whenever possible, particularly in the hottest times of the day between 11 and 3pm
Finally CHECK YOUR SKIN – The sooner a skin cancer is identified and treated the better your chance of survival. If you are concerned see your GP. Early detection is the key!
Another way to teach your children about sun safety is with George the Sun Safe Superstar – click here to take you to the video. This is the story of how a boy became known by a very, very special name. How he spread a message near and far and became a Sun Safe Superstar!
It was written by Skcin; The Karen Clifford Skin Cancer Charity to help children learn about the importance of sun safety in a fun and engaging way. Definitely worth a watch with your kids.
To understand more about becoming a Sun Safe school or nursery and learn more about the other accreditations we offer in the beauty industry, healthcare professionals and outdoor workers come visit our website – https://www.skcin.org/. Stay safe everyone.