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Melanoma Ranks in Top Five Cancers

In May, awareness is placed on Melanoma, currently ranking the fifth most prevalent cancer in men and sixth most prevalent among women in South Africa, according to the National Cancer Registry (2019). The Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA) reminds South Africans to protect themselves from overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays that are the main cause of skin cancer and to be aware that people of all skin tones (light to dark) can be diagnosed with skin cancer. View infographic…

Lorraine Govender, CANSA National Manager: Health Promotion cautions, “Although everyone needs sun, mainly to produce Vitamin D which helps prevent the development of bone diseases, too much sun can be dangerous and even deadly. Globally, it’s estimated that over 1.5 million cases of skin cancer (melanoma and non-melanoma combined) were diagnosed in 2020”.(1)

CANSA enables early detection of skin cancer through educating regarding ABCDE self-examination (to be done once per month with the help of a loved one) to identify moles that show potential for melanoma and offers FotoFinder screening at certain CANSA Care Centres*.

“The FotoFinder is able to map moles and screen for irregularities and monitor growth. If any irregularities are detected, clients will be referred to a medical practitioner for further consultation. Take a look at our video “Fashion Line Up – Moles to Avoid” to get a sense of which moles should be investigated,” adds Govender.

Roy Fletcher, (40) from Gauteng says, “I was young when I was diagnosed with melanoma. It was a small black mole on my chest on the left-hand side next to my heart. I don’t think I was fully aware of the gravity of the situation as a kid. I went in to get it checked out, the Dermatologist cut the mole out, and I thought that was that…The results came back, and my parents told me it was a melanoma, I didn’t fully understand what that meant, but my folks’ behaviour changed. I was always warned about sunscreen and made sure I had a hat on in the sun and went for regular check-ups at the Dermatologist. Awareness of the sun’s effects on my skin was ingrained from then on. It’s really important to educate kids on what to look out for, and at the same time, the parents. I was a carefree kid and if left unchecked, it could have been much worse, as melanoma can spread to other organs in the body! I am lucky that one of my parents found it early and got me the appropriate care.”

CANSA is thankful to partner Novartis South Africa for supporting free FotoFinder examinations during May in Paarl and George in the Western Cape.  Further  screening events will be held in Bloemfontein (end of May) and at the Woodlander Club in Pietermaritzburg on 7 June 2023. Contact info@cansa.org.za for more information regarding the free screening events or to book an appointment for a FotoFinder screening at your local CANSA Care Centre*.

Govender continues, “Two useful online apps that can help monitor changes in the skin and UV levels are the Miiskin app and the SunSmart Global UV app. Both are available free of charge at Apple and Google Play stores. The Miiskin app helps you monitor moles as they develop, and the SunSmart Global UV app uses data from country-level weather and UV measuring stations to provide accurate and location-specific UV index readings. It’s based on the UV Index which describes the level of solar UV radiation at the earth’s surface. The higher the value the greater the potential for damage to the skin and eye and the less time it takes for the damage to occur. The tool may help companies, workers and schools identify hazardous UV conditions affecting work or extra murals at a particular time and give them forewarning to implement safety measures or adapt planned outdoor activities timeously.” (1)

CANSA encourages men, women and children to be SunSmart by using an effective sunscreen, applying it correctly and wearing UV protective garments when outdoors. Sunscreens that carry the CANSA Smart Choice Seal have been verified by approved independent testing laboratories and are deemed safe to use and as effective protection against harmful damage caused by the sun.

*FotoFinder machines roam from one CANSA Care Centre to another. Booking is essential and not all regions offer FotoFinder screening.

 References

1 https://www.who.int/news/item/21-06-2022-sunsmart-global-uv-app-helps-protect-you-from-the-dangers-of-the-sun-and-promotes-public-health

(For more information, please contact Lucy Balona, Head: Marketing and Communication at CANSA at email lbalona@cansa.org.za. 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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