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Melanoma accounts for 4% of all malignant skin tumours

Protective sunscreen cream should be applied throughout the year in high-exposure areas such as Alicante, experts from the University of Alicante warn.

 

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Alicante. Monday, 9 June 2018

Although malignant melanoma accounts for only 4% of all skin cancers, it is responsible for 80% of deaths from skin cancer, according to the Spanish Society of Medical Oncology . “Other than genetic factors and lifestyles, cases of skin cancer can be avoided by reducing sun exposure due to recreational or work-related activities, as well as to artificial sources of UV radiation," director of the University of Alicante Clinical Nursing Research Group and professor of the Department of Nursing, Maria Flores Vizcaya, explained.

Experts warn that the incidence of skin cancer is constantly increasing and is already considered a global epidemic. Other than protecting with sunshades, caps, t-shirts and ISO certified sunglasses, it is advisable to start sunbathing gradually and avoid peak hours, especially during the summer. In the case of children under six months of age, they should always remain in the shade with suitable clothing protecting them from solar radiation. The WHO warns in this regard that solar UV rays are stronger between 10 am and 4 pm.

"Young people and children are particularly vulnerable and the use of a sunscreen between SPF30 and SPF50 is recommended to be applied 30 minutes before exposure, and repeated periodically after bathing or sweating. Also, in order to avoid dehydration, drinking plenty of water is essential," the director of the Clinical Nursing Research Group insisted.

"Despite the flow of information and awareness campaigns, most people do not protect themselves from solar radiation adequately. In fact, protective sunscreen cream should be applied throughout the year in high-exposure areas such as Alicante," Maria Flores Vizcaya stated. "It is important that we remember that the skin" has memory ", that is, that the damage caused by sun exposure is cumulative," he warned. 

 

Self-explorations

An early symptom of the disease is a wound that does not heal or the appearance of new spots on the skin, hence the importance to raise awareness and inform society about self-explorations and clinical examinations by primary-care professionals.

Most melanomas are located on the skin and colours may vary from brown to black, blue, red or grey. “Early detection is key and simple by identifying any new mole or ulcer or changes in shape and colour of those already existing," UA Faculty of Health Sciences senior lecturer explained. The ABCD criteria also help to identify a lesion considered a suspected malignancy as it defines the 4 fundamental features of melanoma: A: Asymmetry; B: Border (tend to be uneven); C: Colour (a variety of colours is another warning signal), and D: Diameter (larger than ¼ inch or 6mm)”, she itemised.

 

False myths

In the case of burn, Vizcaya points out that "the best option is to apply a quick-absorption moisturising lotion and avoid sun exposure until the skin, our main protective barrier, is totally repaired. When second-degree burns appear with evidence of blisters, the first step is to go to a primary care centre and not try to burst them."

Finally, the University of Alicante senior lecturer reminds us that it is not advisable to apply vinegar or yoghurt to reddened skin caused by overexposure to the sun "since acidic substances favour the skin to peel".

 

 

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