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SunSmart Skin Cancer Awareness Month: 1 December – 31 January

Skin cancer awareness month in South Africa runs from 1 December to 31 January.

It`s not “just skin cancer” when it`s the largest organ of your body.
Use protection against the sun!

The 3 major types of skin cancer are: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma.

Even though this common form of cancer develops on skin exposed to the sun (scalp, face, lips, ears, neck, chest, arms and hands, and legs), it can also occur on areas of the skin that are not normally exposed to sunlight (palms, beneath fingernails and toenails, and the genital area).

The two main categories of skin cancer are melanoma, and non-melanoma. These cancerous growths develop when unrepaired DNA damage to skin cells (most often caused by ultraviolet radiation from the sun or tanning beds) triggers mutations (genetic defects) that lead the skin cells to multiply rapidly and form malignant tumours. These tumours originate in the pigment-producing melanocytes in the basal layer of the epidermis.

Visit The Cancer Association of South Africa`s website and learn how to
Be SunSmart Everywhere!

Skin cancer is the most common cancer worldwide and SA has one of the highest monitored ultra violet (UV) levels in the world, resulting in one of the highest skin cancer rates globally.

“South Africa has the 2nd highest incidence of skin cancer in the world after Australia, and in particular one of the highest incidences of melanoma worldwide, as far as Caucasians are concerned. At least 20 000 South Africans are diagnosed annually with non-melanoma skin cancers, and a approximately 1 500 are diagnosed with melanoma.”

Know the signs and symptoms of melanoma skin cancer.

You can reduce your risk by limiting or avoiding exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Monitor your skin for any irregularities or suspicious changes to help detect skin cancer at its earliest stages to increase your chance for successful treatment.

Protect Yourself

Avoid activities and sun exposure
Wear protective clothing and sunscreen
Avoid sunlamps and tanning beds
Be aware of sun-sensitizing medications
Check your skin regularly

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