31 October 2018

Deeper Inspection . . . Honing in on skin truths

Deeper Inspection . . . Honing in on skin truths

With summer on the horizon and many of us set to embrace more time spent outdoors, ensuring your skin awareness is up with the play should be first on the to-do list. However, readying our skin should go much deeper than slapping on the sunblock and UV preventive clothing.

Before stepping into the sunshine, a thorough skin check from a trained professional to pinpoint suspicious spots and suspect areas, is essential. Why? Because over 4000 Kiwis are diagnosed with melanoma annually – and growing. Skin cancer isn’t a problem to pick and choose – we are all at risk. It’s not just about reducing our exposure, it’s about targeting the damage earlier for a better outcome, says Da Vinci Clinic skin cancer specialist, Dr Amy Stanway. “Research tells us that sunburn in young adulthood leads to a greater likelihood of developing skin cancer,” says Dr Stanway. “For example, a study lead by the Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University reported at least five blistering sunburns between the ages of 15 and 20 were 80% more likely to develop melanoma.”

The danger of skin cancer is that it can spread rapidly to other areas of the body. Abnormal cells from a mole can develop and multiple uncontrollably. Careful monitoring and correct diagnosis are the best way to prevent the cancer growing and spreading. “The risk of dying from melanoma is inherently related to the depth of the cancer. The deeper the tumour growth the greater the risk of spread to other areas of the body, the thinner the tumour the lesser risk,” explains Dr Brandon Adams, cosmetic and plastic surgeon at the Da Vinci Clinic.

Skin cancers can present on any part of the body, so examining all hidden areas too such as insides of ears, the scalp, behind the ears, fingernails, butt cheeks, backs of legs, palms of hands, soles of feet and toenails is a must. Self-checking for any new spots or changing moles is important for ongoing management and care, and the experienced team at the Da Vinci Clinic are on hand to guide you through the correct measures and means to stay skin aware. For those up with tech play! Tuning into UV apps - uv2Day and GlobalU – is also a great way of staying sun safe.