From time to time, the Cancer Society has young people who offer to help us as volunteers. This article was written by a volunteer who accepted our challenge to write about skin cancer, from his perspective.
July 10th 2016
I recently visited the Cancer society here in Cayman and during my visit I was asked to write up an article on skin cancer, to give them a new perspective for their website. The first problem I ran into was that I knew very little about skin cancer. When I got home I Googled it, I found that there were many different types of Skin cancer, many different technical terms, none good and most of which are caused by overexposure to UV radiation from the sun. The two main types of skin Cancer are Basel Cell Caricinoma (BCC) and Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC), and the most dangerous type but far less likely is Melanoma. I found out that Melanoma, which accounts for around 1% of all Skin cancers is responsible for a large majority of Skin cancer deaths. I found out that one person dies of melanoma every 52 minutes and that it’s estimated that 10,130 people will die of melanoma in 2016. Melanoma is mainly caused by overexposure to the Sun, something that is all too common here in Cayman. I am only 22 years old, and something that I believe people my age need to know is that sun damage is cumulative, it all adds up. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been to the beach, or out in the middle of the day without sunscreen or protection thinking I’d be fine, not realising that 5, 10, 20 years down the line it could all add up.
I never thought about skin cancer before, even though I’ve grown up on an Island where the sun is so prevalent in my life. It’s very important that people of all ages know that they during the day from 10am to 4pm they must protect their skin when out in the sun. Every day counts, it all adds up. There are multiple ways to protect yourself from the harmful UV rays that can cause skin cancer. You can wear clothes that cover your skin, and make sure you don’t go outside during the afternoons. But if you must go outside then make sure to wear sunscreen of at least SPF 15 when you do! Apply regularly and remember sunscreen does not last forever, and the higher the SPF the better. Always wear a hat and sunglasses when out during the hours of 11am until 3pm.
Make sure to be smart and be safe. For the average American 23% of lifetime exposure occurs by age 18, I imagine it would be somewhat higher for us on the Island, and it all adds up. Protect yourself today, and save yourself from dealing with skin cancer in the future. Be smart and educate yourselves more about skin cancer by exploring the Cancer society website.