To help raise awareness about one of the most common forms of cancer in Qatar, Hamad Medical Corp. (HMC) has warned residents about the signs of the disease and how to avoid getting it.
Skin cancer is an abnormal growth of skin tissues and is very likely to occur due to prolonged exposure to sunlight.
While the illness can affect anybody, the following people are a higher risk, according to Dr. Haya Al Mannai, dermatology consultant at HMC:
- People with fair and lighter skin;
- Those with over-exposure to ultra violet radiation from sunlight; and
- Patients with a family history of skin cancer.
In a statement, Al Mannai highlighted four ways people can avoid getting skin cancer or have a better chance of fighting it through early detection.
1. Check for changes in the skin
The first signs of skin cancer usually include a growing bump, changing mole or signs of scaly, dry and rough patches on the skin.
This is why it’s important to regularly check your skin for any changes, including your back, soles of your feet, under your nails and between toes and fingers.
Al Mannai said these checks are especially important for people who have a lot of moles.
“For people who have existing moles, a new spot or an existing spot that changes in color, size or shape, or is bleeding or itching, is a sign of concern,” she said.
2. Avoid the sunlight at certain times
In general, it is best to avoid prolonged exposure to intense heat and sunlight, but this is especially the case from 11am to 4pm when it’s very hot outside, Al Mannai said.
“When people go out, they should try to wear sun protective clothing that covers as much skin as possible. Wearing a hat with a broad brim that covers the face, head, neck and ears is also a good way to protect oneself from being affected,” she said.
3. Use sunblock
A broad spectrum water resistant sunblock with an SPF30+ or higher is the way to go, as far as Al Mannai is concerned.
Sunblocks should be applied 20 minutes before going outdoors and be reapplied every three hours spent in the sun.
4. In case of an unusual spot/growth/change in the skin…
People who notice changes in their skin should head over to their nearest health center. If a family physician at a health center has any suspicions, they can refer you to a dermatology department for further evaluation.
When skin cancer is caught in its early stages, it can be controlled and treated more effectively, officials said. This is why vigilance is key.