May is Melanoma Awareness Month! Read on...

May is Melanoma awareness month and there’s Skin Cancer week too.

MelanomaMe (https://www.facebook.com/MelanomaMe) are an amazing charity, based in Washington, Tyne and Wear. They raise Awareness and do a fab job!

To help this amazing charity I have decided that throughout the whole of May I will donate £2 to them for every booking 😁

Get in touch with me to book your appointment in - HERE.

I will add more info on this blog post ASAP as I am writing up some handy tips, etc, which I learned on MelanomaMe’s training course.

Here’s their fab, informative website http://www.melanoma-me.org.uk

Update added 22nd April as below:

More about Melanoma.

Sadly Melanoma is misunderstood. I admit prior to the very important training I attended with MelanomaMe at the beginning of November, I didn’t understand much about it at all. Melanoma is NOT JUST skin cancer. This is now the 5th most common cancer in the UK. Around 13,500 new cases are diagnosed each year. More than 2,000 people die in the UK from Melanoma. It is misunderstood as people think it can be simply cut out and cured, sadly there is no cure for Malignant Melanoma.

I would tell anyone in my profession to go on this learning session, but I think everyone should. I will never use a sunbed again, and will be looking at the sun cream I use. This isn't meant to be scare mongering, its real and out there!

I am urging any of my lovely patients to visit @MelanomaMe. on Facebook and their website.

Stigma and misconceptions Sadly, there is a lot of stigma surrounding Melanoma. There are many misconceptions about Melanoma including:  People assume it can be cut out and cured  People assume it is solely caused by going on sunbeds or from the sun  It’s assumed that only fair skinned people can get it  It’s also thought that children cannot get it  It’s seen as a self-inflicted illness and that it’s caused by lifestyle

All skin types are at risk if adequate protection is not used. It is also essential to protect our children. Signs and symptoms of melanoma It’s helpful to be able to recognise the signs in order for us to seek help ASAP. The most common sign is the appearance of a new mole or a change in an existing mole. The most common locations affected are the back in men and legs in women, although anywhere on the body can be affected.

Melanomas can be symmetrical, tiny and have one consistent colour. What is normally always the case is the evolution (see chart below), this is a change, it may change shape, size, colour and sensation, this should never be ignored.

signs and symptoms of melanoma

signs and symptoms of melanoma 2

Photo credit (used with permission): MelanomaMe

The most common type I come across in the work I do.... In the work I do as a Podiatrist, I observe for areas which can be affected, this includes soles of the feet and nails beds. Cancer affecting those areas is known as Acral Lentiginous Melanoma.

Acral Lentiginous Melanoma

Photo credit (used with permission): MelanomaMe

There are other types to be aware of as per this page https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/melanoma/stages-types/types

Risks and causes With any type of cancer there are many factors involved, including; age, genetics, exposure to risk factors. But it must be pointed out that even if you do have any risk factors you won’t necessarily develop cancer.

Melanoma is caused by skin cells which start to develop abnormally. There’s a couple of suggestions re the cause of most melanomas, the primary one being ultraviolet (UV) exposure. There’s also research been carried out which found sunbed exposure too can be a cause. Bear in mind, it’s sudden intense exposure from the sun which results in sunburn (this being the type of sun exposure that causes melanoma).

There are additional factors which can make our chances of developing melanoma higher, including:

  • blonde / red hair

  • Multiple moles / freckles

  • Pale skin which is prone to burning easily

  • Having a close family member who has had melanoma

Here's a handy guide below to help you know your skin cancer risks:

Know your skin cancer risks

Photo credit (used with permission): MelanomaMe

So, having the above knowledge, what can you do to prevent your risk for Melanoma?

  • Wear sunscreen – to be fair this should be worn daily. Even when it’s a yukky Winter day or a cloudy day, UV radiation can still damage your skin. Wear at least SPF30 and one which protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Apply before you go outside and reapply every two hours or after swimming or excessive sweating. Stay in the shade when possible, especially between 10am and 4pm.

  • Wear protective clothing – clothes can include UV-blocking sunglasses, sun-protective clothing and a broad-rimmed hat.

  • Avoid sunbeds – your risk is greatly increased when using indoor tanning facilities. There’s more safer methods to get that golden look, e.g., a spray tan. Fake it, don't bake it! A sun tan is not a healthy tan.

  • At least once a month check your skin over from head to toe and observe changes. Any concerns please consult your Doctor ASAP. I have some helpful foot care tips here as well as more tips on my other blog posts too here. Remember, your feet must not be missed, they need checking over too!

  • Protect Children – most of us have probably been burned as a child, but statistics show that even one bad sunburn in childhood or as an adolescent doubles your child’s chances of developing melanoma later in life. Newborns should be kept out of the sun. Sunscreens should be used on babies over the age of six months.

This is a plea, please look after your body. Each and every part is important and your body is so worth it.

Get in touch with me to book your appointment in - HERE.

Lynn, #Podiatrist in #Sunderland

xx

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