SASCF press release for screening 3 September 2018
Country wide free skin cancer screenings by dermatologists and CANSA this September
On 3 September 2018 participating dermatologists throughout South Africa will be offering free skin cancer screenings. All other dermatologists will screen and mole-map, but a fee will apply.
“We are inviting the public to set up an appointment with one of the participating dermatologists. Names and contact details of dermatologists are published on the website and appointments can be set up on a first come, first served basis. Given the intensive nature of the screening, each participating dermatologist will be able to see only ten patients on each of the days set aside,” said Dr Marc Roscher.
CANSA have partnered with the SASCF for this initiative and will be offering free Fotofinder screenings or ABCDE examinations nationally on this day at their offices.
“We have a shortage of dermatologists in South Africa meaning as much as 79 percent of our population will never be screened for skin cancer. Given that we have the second highest incidence of skin cancer in the world, this is very concerning. This initiative hopes to reduce that percentage,” explained Roscher.
Awareness is key in the fight to save lives lost unnecessarily. Early detection is paramount. Many people don’t realise that burning red in the sun is the precursor to skin cancer. Just one bad burn can lead to years of skin issues; particularly in later life.
“You simply need to visit your local dermatologist who will screen you for skin cancer. This is being done with a view to educate and diagnose patients. No treatment of lesions will be undertaken by the screening dermatologist, and no other skin conditions such as acne or eczema will assessed. This is a skin cancer awareness drive, and our aim is to save lives,” said Dr Marc Roscher.
- Sunburn advice from the SCF
Sunburn essentially is an inflammation of the skin that has been caused by over exposure to the harmful rays of the sun. This in itself can create a number of complications. For example, when temperatures soar, protection is needed against heat rash, heat stroke and sunburn.
A sunscreen or total sunblock is an important accessory when heading outdoors. If possible, apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going out into the sun, since it takes that long to be absorbed into the skin. The SPF (sun protection factor) in a sunscreen provides an indication of the amount of protection being offered. For example, a tested SPF of 23 implies that the user can remain in the sun twenty-three times longer than without protection, before burning.
Before applying sunscreen, check the expiry date on the bottle and replace it if necessary. Remember to shake the bottle before applying, and reapply lotion after sunbathing, towel drying, or after sweating heavily. In the event of over exposure to the sun, apply cool tap water compressed for 10 to 15 minutes, three or four times per day, until the redness subsides. This can provide immense relief since the evaporating water will moisten and cool the skin.
A sunburn relief spray or moisturising cream will further ease discomfort. Doctors strongly caution against using petroleum jelly on a burn, since it will seal out the air needed to ensure healing. In the case of severe sunburn, blistering, pain, nausea or chills, a doctor should be called immediately. Steroid ointments or creams may be prescribed, and large blisters might have to be drained and dressed.
- Don’t wait for a healthy red glow to appear before reaching for your hat or sunblock. In fact, most sunburns do not reach their peak colour until six to twenty-four hours after sun exposure!
- Always wear protective clothing, hats and shirts before going out into the sun;
- Even 30 minutes in the sun without protection is too long!
- Remember, as you move inland, above sea level, the sun’s rays become more intense;
- Avoid being out in the sun between 11h00 and 15h00 when the sun is at its strongest;
- Don’t skip the sunscreen when it is slightly overcast, particularly not if you are on the beach, since ultraviolet light can penetrate light cloud cover;
- Exposure to the sun while overdressed only adds to skin distress. So do thick lotions and oils, such as petroleum jelly, which prevent moisture evaporation and therefore block pores resulting in heat rash;
- Beware of the glare, particularly at the seaside, where you are unlikely to find natural shade. Do not rely on a beach umbrella alone since it cannot protect the very young or elderly from the reflected glare of sun on sand. Instead, pitch a small beach tent, which will provide adequate shelter;
- UVA rays pass through glass. A person sitting near a window (unless tinted for sun screening) is also susceptible to the damaging rays of the sun.
Notes to editors
Vision and mission of the South African Skin Cancer Foundation: Skin cancer is one of the most common cancers worldwide, and this is no different in South Africa. To address the growing incidence of skin cancer in this country, the South African Skin Cancer Foundation (SCFSA) was created with the aim of implementing a National Skin Cancer Screening Day, which will be held in September every year. Facilitating these events and projects requires special skill and insight, which the SCFSA will provide.
With the aid of extensive media coverage, it is our aim to educate and inform the public of South Africa about the dangers of skin cancer and how to avoid it. It is also the role of the foundation to assimilate and distribute information about skin cancer and its symptoms to the lay public, press and medical professionals. A lack of data about skin cancer in South Africa is a pressing concern, and would also form a key component of the SCFSA and its activities.
The foundation has resolved to operate in a manner similar to SCFs in other parts of the world, and to interact and cooperate with any groups, individuals and societies that share our vision and can benefit from or contribute to the work that is being done.
Issued by: Skin Cancer Foundation of South Africa (SCFSA)
Telephone: 031 566 1358 / 084 098 1997