CANSA reminds all South Africans to be SunSmart throughout the year and especially during Summer, as skin cancer remains one of the most common cancers.
View CANSA’s SunSmart Slideshow:
Skin Cancer Common in SA
South Africa has the 2nd highest incidence of skin cancer in the world after Australia, as far as Caucasians are concerned.
Read more about Skin cancer, symptoms and prevention below:
- Infographic: English | Afrikaans
- SunSmart PPT: English | Afrikaans
- Solar Radiation & Skin cancer Fact Sheet
- Dangers of Sunbed Use
- Albinism & Cancer Risk
- Vitamin D Fact Sheet
- Position Statement & Fact Sheet Use of Apps to Diagnose Skin Cancer
- Types Skin cancer – Fact Sheets: Basal Cell Carcinoma | Kaposi Sarcoma | Malignant Melanoma | Merkel Cell Carcinoma | Sebaceous Gland Carcinoma | Squamous Cell Carcinoma
- Spitz Naevi (usually present in toddlers and children) and can mistakenly be thought to be malignant melanoma because of the close resemblance…
- Actinic Cheilitis and Actinic Keratosis – are pre-cancerous conditions that can lead to Squamous Cell Carcinoma
- Balanitis Xerotica Obliterans (BXO) – pre-cancerous condition that can lead to Squamous Cell Carcinoma
- Solar Elastosis – pre-cursor Squamous Cell Carcinoma
- Xeroderma Pigmentosum (XP) – an inherited condition characterised by an extreme sensitivity to ultraviolet (UV) rays from sunlight. Most people with XP develop multiple skin cancers during their lifetime.
- The sun is only dangerous in summer or on a hot day
- Sunscreen will protect me completely from the harmful effects of the sun’s rays
- One or two cases of sunburn won’t result in skin cancer
- People with darker skins are not at risk for getting skin cancer
- Sunbeds are a safer alternate to obtain a tan – find out why sunbeds should be banned…
With credit to Thomas Leveritt (original YouTube video) – An ultraviolet camera can show not-yet visible changes to your skin…
The Truth About Tanning
There is no such thing as a healthy tan – even a sunless tan…
In recent years there has been a considerable increase in the use of sunless and self-tanning products such as sprays, mousses, gels, pills, nasal sprays & injections called Melanotan 1 and 11.
Melanotan 11 has serious side effects, and may induce malignant melanoma. CANSA warns against this product.
Although some self-tanning products contain sunscreen, it offers minimal ultraviolet radiation protection. It does not provide protection from the ultraviolet rays of the sun and CANSA strongly discourages individuals to use any form of tanning product.
Topical sunless tanning products that contain Dihydroxyacetone (DHA), prevent the formation of Vitamin D in the skin when exposed to the sun.
How to Lower your Skin Cancer Risk:
1. Do a Monthly “Spot the Spot” Check Up:
Always seek medical advice as soon as possible when concerned about a particular spot on your skin. Check your skin carefully every month and ask a family member or friend to examine your back and the top of your head. If you notice any of these warning signs, see a doctor or dermatologist immediately – follow the A B C D E Warning Signs:
2. Get Screened at Your Local CANSA Care Centre
- Go to your local CANSA Care Centre for screening with our FotoFinder Dermoscope machine – be sure to make an appointment as the machines ‘roam’ between Care Centres.
- If you are concerned re symptoms, please do not wait – contact your Care Centre, doctor or dermatologist immediately.
- Monitor the harmful UV-rays you are exposed to with a CANSA UV-Smart Armband that turns darker in colour as the UV-rays intensify. Each shade of colour gives protection recommendations you can follow in order to avoid sunburn.
3. Avoid the Following
- Stay out of the sun between 10am and 3pm – stay under the shade of trees or an umbrella as much as possible
- Avoid sunbeds & sunlamps
Tips: Sunscreen & Protective Garments
1. Use an Effective Sunscreen
- We have raised our Seal of Recognition standards & requirements for sunscreens. In addition to current SA standards, as of 1 April 2013, sunscreens bearing our Seal need to comply with the European Colipa Standards.
- Our new CANSA Seal of Recognition logo (CSOR) appears on approved sunscreen products and is a guarantee that the manufacturers of these UV protective products have complied with CANSA’s strict set of criteria – see new logo to the right.
- See list of CANSA’s SunSmart Sunscreen Partners…
- Be sure to use a sunscreen with an SPF of between 20 and 50 & 30 and 50 for fair to very fair skin.
- Products usually expire two years after manufacture – don’t use a product that has been opened and used after a year has passed.
2. Apply Sunscreen Correctly
- It’s important to know the best SPF for your skin-type
- Always apply sunscreen 20 minutes before you go outside and re-apply at least every two to three hours
3. Wear Protective Clothing
- Wear sunglasses with a UV protection rating of UV400
- Wear protective clothing & swimsuits and thickly-woven fabric hats with wide brims – avoid caps where the neck & ears are exposed
- Buy SunSmart garments & apparel… – look out for CANSA’s swing tags (right) & SunSmart Choice logo (top right) on clothing, hats & summer fun accessories.
Educate & Protect Children
Our youth should take special precaution when spending time in the sun – two blistering burns before the age of 18, can dramatically increase the risk of getting skin cancer later in life.
Parents and schools need to play an increasingly important role in educating our youth re being SunSmart. Unfortunately a recent study shows that most schools are not SunSmart. Read more…
- Being SunSmart with Infants, Toddlers & Children Fact Sheet
- 2013 SunSmart Schools Manual – share this with your children & their educators
- SunSmart Radio Spots featuring UV Rays & Villains, Sunny & Brand for children | parents | educators – listen to this with your children or students: English | Afrikaans
Has Cancer Touched Your Life?
Cancer affects one in four South Africans, through diagnosis of family, friends, colleagues or self.
We want you to know that you are not alone and that we would like to support you and your loved ones, regardless of how cancer has touched your life.
Find info & online resources to help you fight cancer and please read more about CANSA’s Holistic Care & Support which is offered at our CANSA Care Centres countrywide.