Skin cancer warning all locals should listen to

Dr Xiaoping Zhang from Medeco Skin Cancer Clinic Penrith. Photo: Megan Dunn.
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With many locals spending their summer holidays outside, the risk of sun damage is always a risk.

Experts are warning people to be sun smart with exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation being responsible for 95 per cent of skin cancers.

Cancer Council Community Programs Coordinator, Natalia Arnas, said the risks of sun damage apply to people of all ages, so younger people should not ignore the safety pleas.

“Nearly one in two Australians reported having a tan from sun exposure last summer, but two in three Australians are also diagnosed with skin cancer in their lifetime,” she said.

“Damage from sun exposure builds up over time, but it is really important for kids to be sun aware because if you get sunburnt as a child it increases your risks of developing skin cancer.”

With people being at different rates of risk, Ms Arnas said it is important to be mindful anytime you are outside.

“Even on cloudy days UV rays will cause damage so you should check how high the UV index is for the day and if it is anything above five you should protect yourself,” she said.

“People need to slip on a shirt, slop on some sunscreen, slap on a hat, slide on sunglasses and seek shade plus remember your skin that is not normally exposed like the soles of your feet if you are laying on the beach.”

Dr Xiaoping Zhang from Medeco Skin Cancer Clinic Penrith. Photo: Megan Dunn.

Dr Xiaoping Zhang from Medeco Skin Cancer Clinic in Penrith said everyone should be aware of changes to their skin and seek advice when they spot something out of the ordinary.

“You need to keep an eye on any new freckles or moles or ones that change in colour or shape, skin that scabs or weeps or lumps that might be red,” Dr Zhang told the Weekender.

“If you have a concern, make an appointment with your GP for a check-up and then you may need a referral to get a 15-minute skin check from a local skin cancer specialist.”

With melanoma being the most dangerous skin cancer that can cause death, Dr Zhang said early intervention is vital in regards to treatment.

“Our youngest patient is four-years-old then we treat a lot of 20-year-olds right through to seniors, so you must protect yourself and get treatment to prevent anything serious,” he said.

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