Why have a skin screen before summer?

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer!

Ultraviolet radiation from the sun is a major environmental factor, regarded as the main causative factor in the formation of skin tumours such as basal cell or squamous cell carcinoma and malignant melanoma. This radiation causes DNA damage to the cells triggering mutations (genetic defects) that cause skin cells to multiply rapidly and form malignant tumours.

Melanocytes are a type of cell that are located in the basal layer of the epidermis (outer skin layer). They are spread evenly throughout the skin but can occur in clusters forming moles. They produce melanin, a brown pigment responsible for skin colouration (your tan!) to shield it against the harmful effects of UV rays by absorbing them and dissipating the energy as harmless heat. This mechanism is not particularly effective in preventing damage to the skin and when melanocytes cannot work quickly enough to produce melanin the UV rays damage the skin cells – sunburn!!! To compensate for this injury the skin sends extra blood to the damaged area in an attempt to repair it – accounting for the redness!!

Melanomas, the most dangerous form of skin cancer, often resemble moles, with 20 – 30% of melanomas developing from existing moles, as they make melanin but some don’t and they can be skin-coloured, pink, red, purple, blue or white!! If untreated the cancer cells can spread to other parts of the body.

It is thought that tumour development is linked to occasional UV exposure in short periods of intense sunlight (frequently leading to sunburn), such as at the weekends or when we are on holiday. Whereas accumulated, long term UV exposure tends to cause non-melanoma cancers such as basal cell or squamous cell carcinomas.

In this day and age when the ozone layer is thinning and tanning machines are popular there is an increasing need to screen our skin for any abnormalities that could be potentially dangerous if left untreated.

Luzdoc, in partnership with the Tomorrow magazine, are offering a FREE SKIN SCREENING DAY on the 7th MAY, just before the summer starts, concentrating on pigmented lesions and carried out by our consultant dermatologist, Dr Ana Dinis.

We do ask that you make a donation of 10 Euros in aid of the animal shelter, Cadela Carlota.

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