Increased exposure to direct sunlight and the use of sun beds can increase the risk of developing skin cancer by up to 75% in individuals below the age of 35, dermatologist Androula Kyprianou said.
Speaking at a press conference organised by the Cyprus Association of Dermatology and Venereology to mark World Melanoma Day, Kyprianou pointed out that skin cancer is on the rise around the world, with more than two million cases annually, of which 4% concerns malignant melanoma.
Skin cancer in Cyprus is also on the rise according to Kyprianou, with a percentage of about 3-5% in every 100,000 people developing melanoma every year.
Based on cancer records, between 1998 and 2010 a total of 516 people have been diagnosed with melanoma in Cyprus, of which 244 were men and 272 women.
To mark European Melanoma Day on Monday, the Cyprus Association of Dermatology and Venereology (Cyderm) has announced that private dermatologists in all towns will offer free examinations by appointment.
Association President Andreas Pallouras explained that the ABCDE rule (Asymmetry, Border, Colour, Diameter and Evolution of Growth) can be used to evaluate whether a mole is considered dangerous.
“When a mole is asymmetrical, has a visible border around it, changes colour or has a suspicious colour, is more than 6mm in diameter and grows in size, any of these may indicate a suspicious growth and should be seen by a dermatologist,” he said.
Dermatologist Constantinos Symeonides explained that those at high risk or developing melanoma include individuals with fair skin or are prone to sunburn, those who were sunburned during childhood, people who spend a lot of time in the sun or use sun beds and those exposed to intense sun for short periods such as holidaymakers.
In addition, people who have more than 50 moles, have a family history of skin cancer, are over the age of 50 or have undergone an organ transplant are also at an increased risk for developing melanoma.
In order to protect yourself and your family from the risk of developing melanoma, the Euromelanoma campaign suggests the following:
? Maximise protection measures for children; regular use of a high sun protection factor sunscreen (30 to 50), shirt and hat
? Seek shade and stay out of the sun at its strongest, between 11am and 4pm
? Protect your skin and eyes by using a hat, shirt and sunglasses
? Let your skin get used to the sun gradually
? Apply sunscreens with a high sun protection factor (>=30) every two hours.
• Avoid sun beds and tanning booths
For more information visit http://www.euromelanoma.org/ or call Cyderm on 24656373.