Latest research shows Skin cancer doubling

Cybill Shepherd moonlights at Madame Tussauds ...
Image by mharrsch via Flickr

Latest from Cancer Research UK highlights dangers from sun – celebrities aren’t immune

With the death rate from various skin cancers rising every year, sadly it is older people, particularly men, who show most shocking growth rate;  the number of men dying from the deadliest form of skin cancer has doubled over the past three decades.

For younger people, sunbeds have accelerated the growth of skin cancer, and there are moves afoot both in UK and USA to ban these beds, at least for those under 18 – but when will this happen?

One wonders if it was sunbeds that caused such a large number of celebrities to present with cancer?

Melanie Griffith, Cybill Shepherd, President Bush, his son George and Laura Bush, Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, Elizabeth Taylor, Princess Michael of Kent,   Scottish actor Ewan McGregor and many others are said to have developed types of skin cancer.

And when famous actors such as Bob Marley sadly died of melanoma, how can we try and ensure we don’t follow in their footsteps?  Bob Marley’s death shows that anyone with a darker skin does NOT have immunity from this dread disease.

Cancer Research UK show figures more than doubling recently,  with a steep increase in deaths from malignant melanoma, especially in elderly men.  Yet they say the disease is preventable.

Caroline Cerny, from Cancer Research UK, says men needed to learn to look after their skin.  “Too often men leave it up to their partners or mothers to remind them to use sunscreen or cover up with a shirt and hat, and even to visit the doctor about a worrying mole,” she said.

If you are worried about a mole, go to a GP.  Dr Jonathan Bowling says “it’s crucial that people go to their doctor as soon as they notice any unusual changes to their skin or moles – the earlier the cancer is diagnosed the easier it will be to treat.”

What else should you do?

1.  If possible wear loose but covering clothing in sunny weather.

Avoid wearing

  • low-slung jeans  – bare flesh at the back is a danger zone
  • sleeveless vests and tee-shirts are a no-no
  • Watch out for the throat area
  • shorts are fun – but slacks and trousers are better, as are long skirts
  • and if you are recovering from chemo – or are bald –  wear a hat

Use Sunscreen with a minimum SPF 15:   30 is better

  • Put on creams at least 15 mins before going out;  don’t rub in, but let the skin absorb them
  • Don’t forget backs of hands; knees;  tops of feet; bald heads; back of neck and throat area
  • Re-apply during the day, particularly after swimming
  • And use an adequate amount.  Don’t scrape it on – slap it on.  You are doing this to prevent a horrid cancer.  Isn’t  your life worth the extra expense of using sunscreen generously?
  • and use DuWop. See below to find out what this is!

La Roche-Posay (LRP), the dermatological skincare brand recommended by over 25,000 dermatologists worldwide has issued the following advice, emphasising the importance of adopting sensible sun safe behaviour to prevent future complications.  Because sadly, skin cancers can take years to develop.

Teenagers spend hours on suntan beds, not caring that they are building up almost certain problems for the future.  Sportsmen and women go out in the mid-day sun without taking proper precautions, etc.

LRP say “Sun creams are an important part of sun protection, but no sun cream can provide 100% protection, so a wide brimmed hat, sunglasses and T-Shirt should be worn in the sun. It is also important to stay out of the sun between 11am and 3pm and follow the British Association of Dermatologists Sun Smart advice. They also have a lot of factual information on their site about different skin cancers, and basic advice about how to treat the sun – because there are also benefits to sunlight, and you don’t want to stay out of it completely.

Sun radiation consists of UVB and UVA radiation. In the short term, your skin will be visibly affected by mainly UVB rays. But the true extent of the problem is seen through the long-term effects of UVA.

These rays are responsible for premature skin ageing and can cause sun allergies such as heat rash (Polymorphous light eruption) and brown spots (hyperpigmentation) and can even provoke phototoxic reactions when combined with certain commonly prescribed medications. It is therefore essential to choose a broad spectrum UVA-UVB sun cream.

Anthelios XL, provides unparalleled effectiveness and dermatological tolerance to

protect against cellular damage caused by UV rays offering highly effective suncare

protection. La Roche-Posay, has demonstrated the clinical efficacy of Anthelios XL with 21

clinical studies. The combination of patented filters Mexoryl® SX and Mexoryl® XL

enables the Anthelios filtering system to provide efficient protection against the entire

spectrum of UVB-UVA rays. New this year La Roche-Posay introduces a new minimalist

filtering system called Mexoplex® into its SPF 50+ Fluid range, offering the highest UVA

protection ever as well as excellent photostability with a reduced content of chemical


iS Clinical is the American skin care range that was developed at Washington Cancer Center.  They say they do not manufacturer a fake tan product, however, spokesman Alan Kelly says, ” we do sell a tinted sunscreen in both the standard cream, and a powder form.  Many of our clients use the tinted version at this time of year instead of make-up. They apply the tinted sunscreen and some will also use some blusher to provide definition. That way they receive a full board spectrum UVA/UVB protection all day. I will also be honest and say that some clients find our perfect tint version slightly too dark. In this instance they normally purchase the translucent and tinted version which they can mix together to achieve their desired shade”.

iS Clinical also make an SPF25 Treatment sunscreen to protect the body, which I often use as it moisturises my skin as well.  Double action!

Their products are mostly sold through doctors’ practices, or contact

Beware! Sun bounces off reflective surfaces, such as water, sea, concrete, etc.  Even when under an umbrella, sitting by the seaside, or on a concrete patio, the sun’s rays can get bounced off the surface, and you end up with horrible burns.  So wear something or slap on sunscreen, even when under the protection of the largest umbrella.  Those rays bounce an awful long way!

And finally – don’t despair

You don’t have to go round looking pale and white – or copy Victoria Beckham and other celebrities who spend hours, – and mega-pounds or dollars – having spray tans.

All my friends have been asking “where have you been?”  I look as it I have been carefully suntanning for the past week on a Mediterranean beach (I wish – the beach part anyway!).  My skin is a lovely colour, thanks to a wonderful self-tanning gel from DuWop.

Calling itself ‘clear revolotion’,  i

this is really a clear, cooling ice blue self-tanner that actually tones and conditions your skin,  provides natural sunscreen and gives you a safe, healthy, glowing tan that develops overnight.

I keep on looking down at my legs – all smooth and golden – and am so proud of them!  And possibly the nicest bonus of all it NO SMELL!

You know that horrid ‘bad grapes’ smell that sticks around you when you wear self-tanning products?  Time and time again I read the blurbs that promised no smell- and found the advertising hype wasn’t true.

But with DuWop there is no smell – no-one would know I had put this on, if it weren’t for my tanned body!  Lovely stuff!

And a weird warning!

Lisa Fayed, writing on Cancer Guide,  for American and Canadian readers,  says “If you drive on a regular basis, you may be putting yourself at risk of developing skin cancer. Whether you hang your left arm out of the window or rest it on the door with the window closed …. the left side of your body is being exposed to harmful UVA rays, especially your face and arm. Window glass may protect you from UVB rays, which cause sunburn, but it does not block UVA rays, which play a role in the development of skin cancer”.

A study published in the May 2010 edition of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology shows that drivers are at an increased risk of developing skin cancer lesions on the left side of their bodies more often than their right. In the study, researchers examined the medical records of 1,047 people with skin cancer. They found that 52.6 percent people had skin cancer on the left side of their bodies as opposed to 47.4 percent on the right. Melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer, occurred much more frequently on the left side — 74 percent compared to 26 percent on the right.

For those of us who drive on the correct i.e. Right side, this obviously refers to our right side!

In the old days you rode on horseback on OUR side of the road – it was easier to draw a sword against an attacker.  But during the French Revolution this was changed (by the French) to walking or driving a cart on the opposite side of the road;  they didn’t want to be reminded of aristocrats, who could afford to ride horses.  Gradually, as Napoleon conquered Europe, he made every country follow the French way.  But the British were never conquered by him, so we still drive on the correct side of the road!  As does half the world!

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