Sun Exposure and Skin Cancer

With the recent peak in sunny weather, many of us are taking advantage of the sunshine, but whilst it’s nice to embrace the warmer weather we all need to make sure we protect our skin against the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation to help prevent the risk of getting skin cancer.

What is UV?

There are 2 main types of UV rays that damage our skin. Both types can cause skin cancer:

  • UVB is responsible for the majority of sunburns.
  • UVA penetrates deep into the skin. It ages the skin, but contributes much less towards sunburn.

A third type of UV ray, UVC, could be the most dangerous of all, but it is completely blocked out by the ozone layer and doesn’t reach the earth’s surface.

Skin Cancer: An Overview

Most skin cancers are caused by exposure to the sun. This may be long term exposure, or short periods of intense sun exposure and burning. The UV light in sunlight damages the DNA in the skin cells. This damage can happen years before a cancer develops.
There are a number of different skin cancers, but the most common type of skin cancer is known as Basal Cell Skin cancer (BCC). About 75 out of every 100 cases of non-melanoma skin cancers are BCC’s.

There are different types of BCC’s:
– Nodular basal cell cancer
– Pigmented basal cell cancer; &
– Morphoeic basal cell cancer
It’s very rare for BCC to spread to another part of the body to form a secondary skin cancer.

When to see your doctor if you suspect skin cancer

You should see your doctor if you have:
– a spot or sore that doesn’t heal within four weeks
– a spot or sore that hurts, is itchy, crusty, scabs over, or bleeds for more than 4 weeks
– areas where the skin has broken down (an ulcer) and doesn’t heal within 4 weeks, and you can’t think of a reason for the change.

Information sourced:

Private Medical Insurance – Cancer Cover

Having Private Medical Insurance which provides an extensive cancer cover is becoming increasingly important for many and at SMP Healthcare Ltd we can help you choose the right type of insurance policy to look after your health should you fall ill. Contact us on 01245 929129 or email