Sunshine, moles and moles checking

Here at Chase Lodge we have a mole scanning machine which can photograph and analyse individual moles. We also have a dermatologist working with us, Dr Ben Esdaile, who has a special interest in skin cancers. Are you concerned about a mole which may be changing? Do you have moles that you are wondering about? Here are some points to think about when considering whether to get your moles checked.

ABCDE of Moles

A   Asymmetry   Normal healthy moles are usually round, not asymmetrical

B   Border   Normal healthy moles have regular defined outlines

C   Colour   Normal healthy moles usually have uniform colour which stays the same

D   Diameter   Normal healthy moles are not usually bigger than 6mm diameter

E   Elevation   Normal moles are usually flat and do not bleed, crust or itch

If your mole shows any differences from the above, make an appointment to get it checked out. You could also look on this link for a scoring system to help you decide.

Did you know?

Skin cancer is increasing in the UK. It is already one of the most common types of cancer here. According to Cancer Research UK, 12,800 people were diagnosed with malignant melanoma (a type of skin cancer) in 2010 in the UK. Be aware of any changing skin blemishes. Remember, some skin cancers do not start in a mole so any new pigmented blemish should be examined.

Sunbeds and the law

Since April 2011, it has been illegal for under 18s to use sunbeds and tanning salons at premises including beauty salons, leisure centres, gyms & hotels.

The Sunbeds Regulation Act 2010 aims to protect under 18s in search of a year-round tan from putting their health at risk. Young people’s skin is delicate and any damage by tanning or burning can raise the risk of skin cancer in later life. So be particularly careful with under 18s in the sun.

How does the sun damage skin?

It is the deep penetration of Ultra violet rays into the skin which harms the cells while also stimulating them to produce melanin –our skin’s safety cover against UV damage.

These cells are then at risk of becoming cancerous. You can’t feel UV damaging your skin and it happens even when the sun doesn’t feel hot. So windy cool days of sunshine can catch you out and sun damage can still occur.

Getting sunburnt causes the top layers of skin to release chemicals that make blood vessels swell and leak fluids. Skin turns red and feels hot and painful, and severe sunburn can lead to swelling and blisters. After sunburn, the skin peels to get rid of damaged cells. Despite healing, permanent damage may have occurred.

Some experts believe that just one episode of blistering sunburn before the age of 20 can double your chance of getting malignant melanoma. “Sunburn is dangerous at any age, but it’s especially harmful in children and young people,” says Katy Scammell of Cancer Research UK’s SunSmart campaign. “Sunburn in childhood can greatly increase your risk of developing skin cancer later in life.”

Be safe in the sun

Sun damage doesn’t just happen when you’re on holiday in the sun. It can happen when you’re not expecting it, for example when you go for a walk or sit in your garden and even on a cool day the sun can damage your skin. The breeze may mask the strength of the rays.

“Sun protection is something you need to be aware of every day in the summer,” says Scammel. “Whether on holiday or at home, you can protect yourself by following the SunSmart messages.”

  • Spend time in the shade between 11am and 3pm.
  • Make sure you never burn.
  • Aim to cover up with a T-shirt, hat and sunglasses.
  • Remember to take extra care with children.
  • Then use factor 15+ sunscreen.

Report mole changes or unusual skin growths to your GP.

Always take special care of children’s skin. The best way to do this is to cover them up and keep them in the shade.

Ask at Reception for an appointment for mole scanning if you are concerned.

Download this information as a leaflet