Bear with me reader, I know I usually write about Food, Travel & Coffee, but occasionally I write articles ‘from the heart’ about other things that are going on in my life and this time I want to share with you some information on Melanoma.
What is Melanoma – it’s the most serious type of skin cancer which can be treated if it is detected early.
I wrote about my brush with Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) a while back, which you can read about here, when I found a suspicious little bump on my nose which my dermatologist diagnosed as a Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) this was treated successfully with a quick minor procedure and since then I’ve become vigilante about checking my body for changes of texture, odd bumps and changes to the colour and shape of moles etc. I’m particular about my face since this is where the BCC was found, and typically make sure that I am wearing sunscreen or wear a hat with a large rim when I’m out and about. Of course living in Dubai we are constantly in and out of the sun so it’s a challenge to constantly wear protection, but if I don’t then I try and cover up when I’m outside.
My daily sunscreen routine for my face is quite simple, I always buy moisturiser and/or foundation with an SPF in it and I always wear lipsalve with an SPF 30 which I wear alone or over lipstick – actually you can buy lipstick with SPF in it too (personally I love QV for their lipsalve and always have a few of them in my bag and in the car).
I usually wear Boots No 7 Makeup (great value and it works for me) – either Beautiful Skin BB with SPF 15 or Lift & Luminate Foundation with SPF 15 and then top this up with Neutrogena Dry-Touch Sunblock which has an SPF of 45 and has a lovely shimmer to my face and was recommended by my dermatogist after my BCC treatment) or Bergasol Duo Sport Haute Protection SPF 50 which I tend to use if I’m playing sport.
DebsTip : I always carry a tube of sunblock with me in my bag so that I can re-apply during the day if I find myself out and about, it’s light enough that it doesn’t build up or feel heavy on my face.
Just before Christmas, I had some bad news about a family member who has been diagnosed with Stage Four Melanoma, there is no Stage Five so this is about as serious as it gets. The person is having treatment (something new which is only just available as treatment in the UK), and the family are rallying around and are being supportive and of course we are all hoping for a positive outcome. My part, since I’m living the furthest away has mainly “to be there” remotely and support from afar however I can. However, I’m hugely inquisitive and have been reading up on Melanoma to fully understand more and in particular to understand what we can do to catch Melanoma at an early stage.
Update : It’s May 2016 now and sadly the person concerned died from from Melanoma recently leaving behind a devastated family. Courageous throughout, they followed all of the medical advice given, received all the treatment available and spent some quality time with the family after being diagnosed. They put all their affairs in order and fulfilled a few wishes on the bucket list. Sadly treatment wasn’t enough and the tumours were relentless. The fight was real, heart wrenching and full of happy memories as well as sad. If this post helps just one person get a check up then I’ve achieved my goal. Rest In Peace.
The thing that has stuck out for me most is some of the information from the Melanoma Research Foundation in the US and I’ve quoted some of their information below :
“Melanoma can be deadly. But it can also be treatable – if you catch it before it spreads. Early detection is a simple but important way to protect your health. There are just three simple steps:
1) Don’t be afraid to GetNaked.
Stand in front of the mirror and take a closer look at your skin – learn what you look like and what your “normal” is. Then, find out how to perform a skin self-exam – and if you see something funny or different, make an appointment with a dermatologist. Not sure where to start? Click here for tips!
2) Check your skin – regularly.
Research has shown that patients, not doctors, are the ones most likely to spot melanoma because they are most familiar with changes on their own skin. In fact, more than half of all melanomas are detected by everyday people – just by paying attention to new or changing features on a loved ones’ skin.
3) Talk to others.
Don’t be afraid to ask about a mole you’re not sure about. Ask your spouse, your partner, a friend or family member to help you keep track of suspicious moles and check hard-to-see places. Don’t be shy – melanoma isn’t, and it doesn’t discriminate. Melanoma can develop on anyone – no matter their age, gender or race. Share the awareness – help others catch melanoma early!
#GetNaked !! And raise awareness of Melanoma and perhaps to help someone get a suspicious mole or change in skin colour etc to checked out which could ultimately save a life.
In this first part of this blog post, I wrote about my brief experience with Basal Cell Carcinoma, in the second part I wrote about how to detect Melanoma, and in this final part I cover what we can do to reduce the risk of melanoma and other types of skin cancer, essentially you can reduce your risk reasonably easy by following these few simple steps :
Avoid the sun during the middle of the day. …
Wear sunscreen year-round. …
Wear protective clothing. …
Avoid tanning lamps and beds. …
Become familiar with your skin so that you’ll notice changes.
We live in a Country where it’s hard to avoid the sun, and boy does the sun feel good on your skin during the couple of perfect months of weather when we all take to the outdoors to enjoy the fresh air and the perfect temperatures. I’m certainly not going to avoid the sun, after all I’m not sure that’s possible here, but I am going to be extra vigilant of my body, be ‘sun’ aware and take precautions as far as possible. Here’s some top tips from one of the earliest campaigns I remember about sun protection, originally launched in the 80’s in Australia and now upgraded to cover a few additional precautions ….
“Slip! Slop! Slap!, Seek and ®… and Slide”
Slip on a sun protective clothing that covers as much of your body as possible
Slop on sunscreen. – SPF 30 or higher – broad spectrum, water resistant sunscreen, at least 20 minutes before sun exposure & re-apply every 2 hours when outdoors or more often if perspiring or swimming
Slap on a broad brimmed hat that shades your face, neck & ears.
Slide on sunglasses
My family are concentrating on the “here and now” at the moment and focussing on being positive and supportive about the outcome, we hope that there is something positive to come out of people being more aware of Melanoma and BCC and increased awareness can only help and perhaps one day save a life or two.
“You Know What To Do, Do It”
Quote Credit : Cancer Institute NSW, the SunSmart program
Special thanks to TishTash.Com who sent me two new sun protection products to try after hearing that I was interested in researching more on sun protection after my BCC scare and about hearing about the Melanoma in the family.
The products are :
Neutrogena Dry Touch Sunsceen with an SPF of 55
Herbal Essential SPF 30 Sunscreen Oil,
Both of which I will be putting through their paces over the weekend as I’m off on a fishing trip to catch my Friday lunch (fingers crossed).
And now for catchy persuasive Sid the Seagull – I can’t get the tune out of my head and nor should you 🙂 ….
The Melanoma Research Foundation has launched a Advocacy Programme called #GetNaked to raise awareness about the importance of early detection and melanoma awareness as follows :
Share your support by posting or tweeting these sample social media statuses and tell your friends to do the same! Then, change your profile pictures to share the importance of early detection and melanoma awareness.
I’m ready to #GetNaked, are you? Did you know that 1 in 50 Americans will be diagnosed with #melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, in their lifetime? Join me and show support for everyone who has been affected by melanoma by sharing this status and changing your profile picture – telling the world you’re not afraid to #GetNaked if it means you’ve saved just one life. www.melanoma.org/getnaked
Detecting #melanoma early might mean the difference between life and death. #GetNaked with a loved one and check your skin! Help me raise awareness about melanoma by sharing this status and changing your profile pic – tell the world you’re ready to #GetNaked!www.melanoma.org/getnaked
I’m ready to #GetNaked – are you? Catching #melanoma early could save your life. Share this status if you or someone you know has melanoma & change your profile picture to show your support! www.melanoma.org/getnaked