As a redhead, I’ll tell you why being a redhead is dangerous. Apart from the obvious that we attract a lot of attention due to our stand out appearance, which can be good and bad, but we actually live a dangerous existence due to the sun.
Fair haired and light eyed people are the most susceptible to Melanoma and skin cancers.
Red heads with blue eyes are the most highly susceptible and throw in the triple whammy of family history, is why being a redhead is so dangerous.
But let me tell you, Melanoma can effect every skin type so we all need to be careful.
By now you’ve probably read my own personal journey with MELANOMA.
I have been diagnosed with three stage 1 Melanomas so luckily for me they were all removed prior to any major damage or danger to me.
So you might be asking yourself why is Anna talking about Melanoma again? Personally, living on the East Coast of Australia, it’s a topic which isn’t spoken about enough. The depletion of the ozone layer over the East Coast of Australia is at it’s worst and subsequently the incidence of Skin Cancer in this Zone is the highest in the world.
Our nation is also highly populated with fair skinned people many of whom are now suffering the consequences of high sun exposure and excessive tanning and sunburn. In our defense, the problems associated with sun exposure were not highlighted until around 35 years ago and for many like myself, the damage was already done and hence, years later many surgeries and spot removals.
The reason for todays melanoma story is that my SON was recently diagnosed with a Stage 1 melanoma on his head. HE IS ONLY 14 YEARS OLD!!!
I have covered him in sunscreen and protective clothing and stayed out of the sun in the hottest part of the day for his whole life and unfortunately Melanoma still managed to find it’s way to his scalp. Thankfully, just after a haircut my daughter noticed an ugly spot on his head and I later found 3 more small ones.
You can imagine my horror, because having had so many things removed I knew this one looked bad. The doctors were also shocked to see such a young patient with Melanoma and whilst it is rare, it does happen.
So here’s the thing. You may ask why 10am to 4pm? What many people don’t realise is that it’s not the heat of the sun that causes cancer.
The heat of the sun will undoubtedly damage your skin, causing blistering and sun spots but it is the harmful UVA and UVB rays which cause the cancer.
These rays are strongest during the hours of 10am and 4pm throughout the day, even in cloudy weather.
Many people are caught out in cloudy weather because they don’t feel the heat of the sun, but the rays are still causing damage.
Regardless of whether it’s Spring, Summer, Winter or Autumn, cover up during these hours as much as possible.
The great news is that Melanoma is very preventable with vigilant check ups and staying out of the sun
Here’s some simple tips to keep yourself safe
- Find yourself a reputable skin cancer specialist
- Have annual check-ups unless requested to have them more frequently. Check everywhere, even your scalp.
- Use skincare containing SPF 50+ as well as 50+ Sunscreen for the rest of exposed body parts
- Always wear a hat and sunglasses
- Use tinted moisturisers if you like some colour rather than tanning in the sun and solariums
- Choose some indoor activities for exercise, e.g gym, dance, indoor soccer, futsal, indoor swimming or participate where possible early morning and late afternoon
- Keep a check on yourself and family members, any spot you think doesn’t look right get it checked. A quick visit to the doctor will save your life
- Encourage each other to cover-up and don’t make people feel bad because they look so white. The amount of times people have made fun of me because of my white skin, is alarmimg. I simply reply I’d rather be white than dead!
- Whenever outdoors seek shade and carry an umbrella
- Warn anyone if you see a suspicious spot on their body, you could be saving a life
Thanks for listening to my story and I hope I’ve inspired you to pick up the phone and make an appointment for your next check-up. You only have one life and it’s in your hands.
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