Check the skin you’re in during Melanoma Awareness Month
March is Melanoma Awareness month and Melanoma New Zealand would like to invite you to raise awareness of this terrible disease that affects over 4000 Kiwis every year.
New Zealand has one the highest melanoma incidence rates in the world. Melanoma is the fourth most common cancer in NZ, with over 300 New Zealanders dying of melanoma every year – that’s more than the road toll!
Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer you can get. It can progress quickly and can be life-threatening. Melanoma is treatable if diagnosed early but if the cancer spreads to other parts of the body then the prospects of survival are poor.
Early melanoma may not have any noticeable symptoms but melanomas usually appear as a changed or new mole.
If you notice anything new, changing or different on your skin, get it checked by a doctor. It could save your life!
How to prevent getting melanoma
Most melanomas are caused by exposure to UV radiation in sunlight, so avoid getting sunburnt whatever your age by;
- wearing a broad-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and clothing, and seeking shade where possible.
- using sunscreen on skin that is not covered by clothing.
Protection is especially important between 10am and 4pm during daylight saving months – this when UV radiation is highest.
Using sunbeds and/or sunlamps increase the risk of melanoma. Using these treatments before the age of 35 is associated with a 59 percent increase in the risk of melanoma.
People from ethnic groups with darker skin (like Māori, Pacific and Asian peoples) have more protection against UV rays and so are less likely to get skin cancers, including melanoma.
Visit the Melanoma NZ website for more information or call them free on 0800 4 Melanoma (0800 463 526).