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Consider Your Skin’s Health During Skin Cancer Action Week

This week, November 16 – 22, is Skin Cancer Action Week and with the weather encouraging us to head outdoors, there is no better time to consider skin cancer risks.

Event ambassadors Stephanie Rice and Michael Clarke are helping promote the campaign which has the theme of ‘Your Summer. Your Skin. Your Story.’

Over 2000 people in Australia died from skin cancer in 2011 alone, two in three Australians are diagnosed with skin cancer by atge 70 abnd melanoma is also one of the most common cancers in Australians aged 15 to 44. Skin cancer is also one of the most preventable cancers and National Skin Cancer Action Week seeks to reiterate the importance of Slip, Slop Slap Seek and Slide.

“I’m very grateful for this annual reminder of the dangers posed by sun exposure,” AMA (NSW) President, Dr Saxon Smith, said.

“The Cancer Council and Australasian College of Dermatologists are doing excellent work reminding people of the threat of skin cancer. “This week also serves as a good reminder to get to your family doctor for a skin check, especially if you have fair skin or a family history of skin cancer,” Dr Smith said.

“Most of the time, skin cancer is preventable and you can protect yourself by wearing protective clothes, sunglasses, sunscreen and a hat as well as seeking shade during peak UV times.

“It’s important to remember it doesn’t need to be summer for UV levels to be that high.

“UV rays don’t take holidays and people should be conscious of sun safety whenever UV levels are three or higher,” Dr Smith said.

“Melanoma grows and spreads through the body very quickly and causes about 1500 deaths every year. “Like other cancers, catching it early is key to successful treatment,” Dr Smith said.

“There’s more to skin cancer than melanoma – and while melanoma is the most deadly form, people should be on the lookout for any changes in their skin.

“If you’re worried something on your skin doesn’t look right, see a doctor and make sure you follow it up with regular skin examinations.”

Cancer Council Australia’s website has very useful information for consumers. It also has personal stories by people who have experienced skin cancer.

Jim Maxwell shares a story, many of us have head before. “I enjoyed a typical Australian childhood and spent plenty of time soaking up our wonderful sun. We didn’t know too much about sun protection, but we’d occasionally slop on some sunscreen if we were at the beach. It would wash off and we never thought to reapply,” Jim says.

“It took me until much later in life to realise what effect those years in the sun could have on my health. I was about fifty when I first noticed something unusual about a patch of skin on my face. I visited my GP and he sent me along to a dermatologist.  It turned out to be the first of many skin cancers I’ve had removed from my face, including one on my nose that required fairly significant surgery. I’ve been lucky enough to dodge any melanomas but it certainly made me change my ways.”

See Jim’s story at http://www.cancer.org.au/about-cancer/share-your-cancer-story/jim-maxwell.html or watch him talking to ambassador Michael Clarke https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-dVOIDsQ7ZM

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