Hello, my name is Simon. I am a 59-year-old man who lives alone in downtown Perth. I am pleased to say that I have never had to spend a night in a hospital. This is because I know how to take care of myself. When I was growing up my grandpa often used to tell me that if you eat well and exercise, you will live a long life. He died aged 95, so he must have known something. However, it was only when I became friends with a doctor, that I discovered all the other things I could do to stay healthy. I decided to start this blog to encourage others to look after their health.
When something is making you think about the health of your skin rather than the way it looks, you may start considering skin checks. As part of your considerations, you may wonder whether you're one of the people who should get a skin check.
Ultimately, everyone should ask a professional to check their skin at some stage. Although not everyone will develop skin cancer, in a culture with lots of UV exposure, each person increases their risk annually. However, there are certain categories of individuals who are at higher risk. Finding out if you belong to one of them may prompt you to seek a check faster.
Get to know your skin
Everyone should become familiar with their skin. Once a month, stand in front of a mirror and check the front of your skin. Use a handheld mirror to look at the back. Make a note of any moles or changes that you see. If you do see a change, you should see a professional for a check.
Exposure to UV light
Everyone encounters UV light when they step out into the sun. But, if you're a frequent tanner or outdoor worker, or if you use sunbeds, you should prioritise having someone check your skin. UV rays interfere with your skin's cellular development. If this results in a disruption to the DNA's pattern, you may experience a mutation. In a lot of cases, such mutations correct themselves. However, if you're encountering more UV light than most other people, your body might not have a chance to catch up. As a result, your risk of skin cancer is higher.
Your medical history increases your risk
If you have a first-degree relative who has had skin cancer, you may have an increased risk. Similarly, conditions such as xeroderma pigmentosum or anything that suppresses your immune system can interfere with your body's ability to perform cellular repair. Psoriasis treatment and a previous encounter with HPV also mildly increase your risk, which means you should remain extra vigilant.
Yes, your skin's tone does play a role
The paler you are, the more likely you are to burn. You're producing less melanin than those who have darker skin tones, and as melanin has its own sun protective factor, you're lacking in the natural barrier that some people benefit from. But, that doesn't mean you should avoid skin checks if you're not pale. Being at a lower risk doesn't mean there's no risk at all.
Overall, everyone should head for a professional check and monitor changes. However, if you fall into one of the high-risk categories, you should ask your doctor about a personalised check plan.Share
24 October 2018