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Be Proactive about Protecting Your Skin

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07 December 2020 – The Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA) urges individuals to be proactive about protecting their skin and being aware of changes to their skin. Skin cancer is the most common cancer worldwide, and as South Africa has one of the highest monitored ultraviolet (UV) levels in the world, it also has one of the highest incidences of skin cancer globally*.  View Leaflet

#SunSmart #LowerCancerRisk #SkinCancer 

Ultraviolet rays (UVA and UVB) reach the earth’s surface and are damaging to skin. UVB is responsible for producing sunburn and can cause sunburn within fifteen minutes, causing permanent damage, while UVA rays can contribute to ageing the skin and DNA damage. Damage from both UVA and UVB rays can lead to skin cancer.

Gerda Strauss, CANSA’s Head of Service expands on the importance of early detection, “When it comes to beating skin cancer, picking it up early is vital. Get into the habit of doing monthly skin checks using the ABCDE guidelines on CANSA’s website and get a friend or family member to check out of sight areas like the scalp, back and buttocks. Any irregularities should immediately be reported to a doctor or dermatologist.

She adds, “CANSA offers FotoFinder screening, an all in one dermoscopic skin cancer screening and mole mapping using a dermascope device, the imaging system of choice by thousands of dermatologists worldwide. The system automatically links digital dermoscopic images of moles to an overview image, making the identification and tracking of lesions easy.  Should any abnormalities be picked up, a referral will be made to a dermatologist. FotoFinder screening is available at most CANSA Care Centres, however, it’s important to book an appointment in advance as FotoFinders roam between Care Centres,” she added.

It’s essential to be aware of changes to your skin. CANSA has partnered with Miiskin, a free user-friendly app that helps monitor these changes. Although it is not a diagnostic tool and does not replace a visit to the dermatologist or doctor, it does help raise the alarm on skin changes which may then be further investigated by a professional.

SunSmart Tips

As part of it’s SunSmart campaign, CANSA is selling ‘Eeze Squeeze Bangles’, at all CANSA Care Centres – refillable dispensable bangles that can be cut to size and are filled with CANSA approved sunscreen and available at R25 each.

The use of sunscreen is not a license to ‘bare all’ in the sun. Avoid direct sunlight between 10am and 4pm when the sun’s rays are most dangerous. Stay in the shade or under an (UV protective) umbrella as much as possible. UV rays reflect off cement, water, sand, glass and grass and can therefore cause sunburn in the shade. Other protection includes UV protective clothing as UV radiation can penetrate fabric. UV protective swimwear and umbrellas bearing the CANSA Seal of Recognition should be part of your protection kit. Look out for CANSA’s swing tags and Smart Choice logo on clothing, hats and summer fun accessories. And avoid sunlamps and tanning beds.

All sunscreens bearing the CANSA Seal of Recognition have broad spectrum protection abilities, meaning they protect against UVA and UVB rays. Always apply a sunscreen, with a sun protection factor (SPF) between 20 and 50 depending on skin type. It’s also important to wear sunglasses with a UV protection rating of UV400 to protect the eyes.


(For more information, please contact Lucy Balona, Head: Marketing and Communication at CANSA at email Call 011 616 7662 or mobile 082 459 5230.)

CANSA offers a unique integrated service to the public and to all people affected by cancer. CANSA is a leading role-player in cancer research and the scientific findings and knowledge gained from our research are used to realign our health programmes, as well as strengthen our watchdog role to the greater benefit of the public. Our health programmes comprise health and education campaigns; CANSA Care Centres that offer a wide range of care and support services to those affected by cancer; stoma and other clinical support; medical equipment hire, as well as a toll-free line to offer information and support. We offer a Tele Counselling service in seven languages free of charge. We also supply patient care and support in the form of 8 CANSA Care Homes in the main metropolitan areas for out-of-town cancer patients and CANSA-TLC lodging for parents and guardians of children undergoing cancer treatment.

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