Soaking up the Sun..

'We're all going on a Summer Holiday' was playing on the radio yesterday and filled my mind with precious holiday memories, packing the bags, heading to the airport or in my younger days Dover, we were filled with positivity, excitement and feeling relaxed and ready for all that the holiday brought us, as well as hoping to return home looking healthy with a suntan.

But over the years I’ve become a little more cautious, the sun cream I use is no less than factor 30 and I will sit in the shade as much as I can. I’ve never used a sunbed, nor have I laid in the garden smothered in oil on bacofoil. (remember those days?)

I have naturally dark hair and olive skin and I tan very quickly. So am I Immune from developing melanoma? The answer is no, I’m not!

As a child I grew up in Africa, I can’t remember being lathered with sun cream, but then it was the late 60’s early 70’s. The evidence of skin cancer wasn't around in the detail it is now, if at all. I’ve also burnt over the years, even here in the UK, so realistically the damage has already been done! So, it is a concern! Yet I can’t do anything about it, it was in the past!! I can't do anything about that but I can become more observant now and in the future.

Sadly, there is an element of stigma around Melanoma, why? Because it’s self-inflicted!

Mmm, everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I wouldn’t be judgmental about others using a sunbed or spending every minute in the sun, we can all learn and make changes and surely, it’s better to support someone rather than be critical wouldn’t you agree? After all there is that saying people who live in glasshouses…

So, fast forward to 2019, we’ve become aware of skin cancer for quite some time now, but there is still so much to be done.

I’m based in Newcastle upon Tyne and earlier this year learnt more about Melanoma after signing up to a course with a couple of lovely ladies at MelanomaMe (in Washington, Tyne & Wear). As a holistic therapist from time to time clients ask about marks on their skin and nails and its something I knew little about so would always suggest a visit to the GP, but I wanted to learn more, I’m not in any way shape or form in a position to diagnose but it has given me the background that if I notice something that looks a little odd I will mention it.

So here are a few facts I’d like to share with you

· Melanoma is the 5th most common cancer in the UK, yet we don’t hear that much about it! Are you surprised by this? I was

· There are approx. 13,500 new cases diagnosed each year! No one is immune, if you’ve dark hair, you are still at risk.

· More than 2,000 people die each year in the UK from Melanoma!! Such a sad statistic when 86% is preventable.

· Getting burnt doesn’t mean that you will develop skin cancer but just once every two years can triple the risk. Please think carefully about your sun protection.

· Once you’ve had Melanoma there’s a chance it will return.Serious words I know but I have to share if it helps one person how marvelous would that be?!

I know you’ve probably seen or heard about what you can do to help yourself but at the risk of being a bore, I’m going to repeat it….it may help save your life or that of another.

Choose a factor with 5 stars, apply it at least 30 minutes before going out.

Reapply every 2 hours, even if it does say its an all day cream!!

If it’s out of date, buy a new one. (I’ve been guilty of keeping a bottle from one year to the next)

Wear a hat, glasses & stay in the shade between 11 & 3.

Wishing you a spectacularly SAFE Summer!

Rachel xx

MelanomaMe offers counselling, support, advocacy and awareness. If you are in the wellbeing business I’d recommend the course too.

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