Sun Awareness Week: How to check your skin for signs of cancer

Added 07/05/2013

sun awareness week

This week (6th May to 12th May) is Sun Awareness Week, an annual campaign run by the British Association of Dermatologists (BAD) to raise awareness of skin cancer amongst the British public.

The campaign has two aims;

Firstly, to educate the British public about the dangers of sun burn and excessive tanning, both from the sun and sunbeds.

Secondly, to encourage people to look out for changes in their skin which could indicate skin cancer developing. Early diagnosis is important in the treatment of skin cancer.

Sun Awareness also runs a road show which will travel around the UK to make people aware of the risk of skin cancer and help them enjoy their time in the sun safely.

The number of people diagnosed with skin cancer in the UK is still on the rise, with over 100,000 people diagnosed each year. Malignant melanoma is the most deadly form of the disease causes over 2000 deaths a year, so early diagnosis of skin cancer is vital.

BAD has produced these tips to help you check your own moles for signs of skin cancer:

Skin cancers vary, so you should consult your GP if you notice any changes to your skin.

These ABCD-Easy rules show you a few changes that might indicate a ’melanoma’, which is the deadliest form of skin cancer.

  • Asymmetry - the two halves of the area may differ in shape
  • Border - the edges of the area may be irregular or blurred, and sometimes show notches
  • Colour - this may be uneven. Different shades of black, brown and pink may be seen
  • Diameter - most melanomas are at least 6mm in diameter. Report any change in size, shape or diameter to your doctor.

The best way to reduce your risk of skin cancer is to take care in the sun and avoid getting burnt. Read our article for more information about how to prevent sun burn and stay safe in the sun: Staying safe in the sun.

If you have been diagnosed with skin cancer, or have had treatment for skin cancer in the past, it’s very important to declare it when you buy travel insurance, to ensure that you are properly covered for emergency medical expenses whilst you are away. can provide travel insurance for all types of cancer, including skin cancer. You will need to declare that you have suffered from skin cancer when you get a quote and answer the multiple choice questions accurately — you won’t need to get a doctor’s certificate.

Find out more about cancer travel insurance >>

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