New Skin App to Help You be SunSmart
22 November 2019 – CANSA reminds South Africans to be SunSmart, by protecting their skin at all times and especially during the holidays. 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. #SunSmart
Dr Melissa Wallace, CANSA Head of Research says, “It’s also important to be aware of changes to the skin in order to detect skin cancer early. With this in mind, we partnered with Miiskin, a free user-friendly app for monitoring changes on your skin, although it doesn’t replace a doctor’s visit and isn’t a diagnostic tool. Any suspicious moles or abnormalities should be checked out by a dermatologist or medical professional. It’s another way to encourage people to be aware of skin changes and to monitor them. Extra functionalities can be accessed through a subscription that comes with a 30-day free trial and if consumers take this up, Miiskin donates 15% of subscriptions to CANSA to assist in implementing our risk reduction and support work.”
Dr Willie Visser, Head of Dermatology at Stellenbosch University adds, “It could potentially lead to early detection and it makes people more aware of skin cancer.”
Miiskin partners include the Canadian Skin Cancer Foundation, British Skin Foundation and Skin Health Alliance. It was developed by founder, Jon Fris in Denmark whose partner Rikke had many moles and was advised to monitor and keep track of her moles due to her risk of melanoma. This led to the development of this digital tool.
CANSA urges people to check their skin regularly for changes, unusual marks or moles. An annual medical examination should include a skin check.
“Ask someone to check your back, top of your head and the back of your legs for spots or changes you may not notice yourself and consult with a dermatologist or medical professional if any suspicious moles or abnormalities are detected. Use the ABCDE warning signs on the CANSA website for guidance,” advises Wallace.
Primary protection from the sun is to use sunscreen. All sunscreens bearing the CANSA Seal of Recognition (CSOR) 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.
The use of sunscreen lotion is not a license to ‘bare all’ in the sun. Avoid direct sunlight between 10am and 3pm 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.
Wallace states, “Many people are participating in outdoor and sports events where it’s vital that sunscreen is made available. We partner with Dispensit who provide event sunscreen stand dispensers offering the perfect way to make sunscreen available to all participants. CANSA receives 10% of each stand sold towards our SunSmart health awareness campaign,”
“Other protection includes UV protective clothing as UV radiation can penetrate fabric. 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,” she concludes.
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 also supply patient care and support in the form of 12 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.
Visit www.cansa.org.za or contact the nearest CANSA Care Centre, call CANSA toll-free 0800 22 66 22 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition to online resources and Facebook support groups, CANSA offers multi-lingual support on WhatsApp: 072 197 9305 for English and Afrikaans and 071 867 3530 for Xhosa, Zulu, Sotho and Siswati. Follow CANSA on Twitter: @CANSA (http://www.twitter.com/CANSA), join CANSA on Facebook: CANSA The Cancer Association of South Africa and follow CANSA on Instagram: @cancerassociationofsouthafrica and LinkedIn.