Skin cancer is one of the most common types of cancer, affecting millions of people worldwide each year. But there are still many myths and misconceptions surrounding skin cancer that can make it difficult for people to understand how to prevent it or when to get something checked.
Dr Edward Partridge a Partner at Healthcare Group and is accredited by the RCGP and the British Association of Dermatologists in skin lesion management and skin surgery.
Dr Partridge runs a Mole and Skin Lesion Clinic every Tuesday and Wednesday morning, where he can undertake a full skin/mole check or assess any skin lesions concerning patients at this clinic. He can also arrange a full-body digital mole mapping using the most up to date FotoFinder ATBM Master system.
Below, Dr Partridge shares some of the most common myths about skin cancer and the truth behind them.
Myth #1: Sunscreen is only necessary on sunny days
Fact: UV rays can penetrate clouds, so it's important to wear sunscreen every day, regardless of the weather. Even on cloudy or overcast days, you can still be exposed to harmful UV radiation that can damage your skin, particularly when out in the sea.
Myth #2: Skin cancer is not as dangerous as other cancers
Fact: Thankfully, it is possible to treat most skin cancers effectively. However, melanomas can be very dangerous and difficult to treat if they are not identified early. That’s why it’s important to catch skin cancer early on through regular skin checks and seek treatment promptly if you notice any changes in your skin.
Myth #3: Most melanomas develop from existing moles that have become cancerous
Fact: Over 70% of melanomas develop on normal looking skin and not from existing moles. That is why it is so important to get new moles checked, even if they look normal.
Myth #4: Only older people get skin cancer
Fact: While skin cancer is more common in older adults, unfortunately, we are increasingly seeing skin cancer in younger age groups. Melanoma is also one of the most common cancers to affect younger adults.
Myth #5: Skin cancer only affects exposed areas like the face, arms, and legs
Fact: It is undoubtedly the case that sun-exposed areas are at the most significant risk of developing skin cancers. However, melanoma can occur anywhere on the body, even the soles of the feet. That's why it's essential to perform regular skin checks and look for any changes in moles or spots, even in areas that are covered by clothing.
By understanding the facts about skin cancer, you can better protect yourself.
Prevention and early detection are key. If you have any concerns about your skin or notice any changes, don't hesitate to schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider.