To put it simply, it’s a case of ‘before’ and ‘after’. ‘Melanoma prevention’ means proactively looking after your skin to try and avoid getting skin cancer – and we’ve outlined some great tips for preventing melanoma below.
On the other hand, ‘melanoma detection’ means getting your skin checked regularly and thoroughly by a professional service to ensure that if you do have melanoma, it’s caught early, while it can still be easily treated.
And while there are some features of melanoma you can check for yourself at home, most melanomas can’t be seen with the naked eye. That’s why it’s vital to have your skin checked by a specialist skin check service such as MoleMap.
Our highly trained Melanographers use a special dermoscopic camera that can view the internal structure of a mole, which allows us to detect the signs of melanoma much earlier than a visual check. What’s more, when you have regular Full Body MoleMaps, our imaging technology captures changes in your skin over time, so it’s an effective way to detect melanoma in its early stages.
But, even more importantly, is preventing skin cancer from occurring in the first place…
More than a whopping 85% of melanoma cases are caused by exposure to the sun, so being sun smart is one of the easiest ways to avoid skin cancer. Here are some simple ways to limit or control your sun exposure:
1. Stay out of the sun between 10am and 4pm, especially in summer months, because that’s when the sun is at its strongest.
2. Slip, slop, slap and wrap: slip on a hat and sunglasses, slap on sunscreen, and wrap yourself in long sleeves and pants if you have to be out in the sun.
3. Use a sunscreen with at least SPF30+ that's broad spectrum (i.e. has both UVA and UVB protection). Consumer NZ has recently released the results of survey on the most and least effective sunscreens – check it out here.
4. Don’t skimp on the sunscreen – apply it liberally at least 30 minutes before sun exposure.
5. Reapply sunscreen every two hours and after swimming – especially if you’re in the sun all day for work or sporting activities.
6. Add UVA window films to your car windows to protect you and your family – these days front windscreens are usually treated to reduce UVA penetration, but side windows don’t offer any protection.
Remember that no matter how sun smart you are, anyone can get melanoma, at any age. That’s why it pays to have a thorough skin check with a professional service such as MoleMap every year – so that melanoma can be spotted early, while it’s still treatable.