'Our health always seems much more important after we lose it'
I had the experience this year (2006) of spending a few days at Cricket with a person who has had skin cancer for quite a few years and it was, to say the least, very eye opening to what can happen when over exposing yourself to the sun.
It always gets me that we must be about the only European country which, when the sun comes out, love walking down to the shops or milling about with nothing on the top halves of our body.
It seems a Standard for young men and teenagers to show, what they think, is their masculine charm.
Usually after a few days of a heatwave you'll see the same young lads with backs and shoulders peeling - great !
There is a common attitude of 'it's always someone else' and it is for this reason that cases of skin cancer have risen to over 60,000 people getting it.
There are basically three forms of skin cancer,
1. Malignant melanoma ; the worse, slow to form and spreads to other parts of the body.
2. Basal cell carcinoma; This affects the top part of the skin, is also slow to grow, but does not spread to other parts of the body.
3. Squamous Cell Carcinoma; This involves another type of cell on the top layer of skin, but again is not known for it's agression. Most common and prone to people with white or fair skin.
If you are changing your life to a more outdoor one, this must be of importance to you during hot weather.
It would seem that the fairer skin you have, a family history of skin cancer, skin which has a lot of moles (they say a lot is over 50), red or fair hair with blue or green eyes, freckles, you were badly sunburnt as a child, you use a sunbed frequently etc., are all factors increasing the risk.
The advice is really quite simply - COVER UP and only show your skin to the sun when you need to rather than when you want to.
I'm no medical geru in any way, but meeting this chap and seeing the obvious discomfort he had plus the open appearance does put the message accross.
The skin is your visual image to other people, but more important is the health of yourself for you and your families sake.
I for one have a history of sun worshipping, I brown by looking out the back door and other people say how much healthier I look during the summer months - but am I paying the price ? Are you?
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As with anything, if in doubt, ask your Doctor for advice.