After it seemed like Winter was going to take over Spring this year, the forecast looks like things will start heating up.  Of course, this is a good time to start thinking about our skin and about Sun protection. 

We are all lucky enough to be living in Australia, which boasts one of the best lifestyles in the whole world.  We are also unlucky enough to live in Australia which also boasts one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the whole world.  Unfortunately, as is often the case in life, you have to take the good with the bad.

The reality is that 1 out of 2 of us is going to get cancer at some point in our lives.  If you look at the person nearest you right now (or the person you see next if you are alone), then the odds are, you or they will get skin cancer.  This is quite sobering when that person you just looked at is a loved one.  So, the message here is an important one.

There are two things to know about skin cancer:

  1. Sun burn and  Sun damage will significantly increase your odds of getting skin cancer
  2. If you do get skin cancer, early detection and treatment will dramatically affect your outcome. (Outcome = quality and length of life).

This means you should do two things:

  1. Protect your skin against Sun damage
  2. See you doctor for regular skin checks. And have any mole, freckle, spot or skin blemish that looks suspicious or that changes in appearance checked immediately.

I’m sure we have all heard the messages about how we can protect our skin from the Sun.  The slip, slop, slap message has been well publicised over the years.  The importance of reducing exposure between 10am and 2pm (when the UV rays are at the highest), wearing a shirt, a broad-rimmed hat and sunglasses and applying sunscreen cannot be overstated.  What has been less well publicised is that we often don’t use our sunscreen correctly.  

So, I thought it would be timely to highlight some important points about applying sunscreen.

  1.  We need to be more generous with how much we apply.  The research shows that many of us apply our sunscreen too sparingly.  As a guide, we should use 2 teaspoonfuls of sunscreen per arm, 2 for our face and neck, 4 per leg and 6 for our back and shoulders.  Often, if sunscreen hasn’t worked it is because we haven’t applied enough
  2. Sunscreen should be applied 20 minutes prior to Sun exposure to allow it to bond with the skin.
  3. Sunscreen should be reapplied every 2 hours whilst you are in the Sun, regardless if the packaging says it lasts longer than 2 hours.
  4. Sunscreens work on a principle of extending the time it takes for your skin to burn.  But, with time in the Sun even with a sunscreen, your skin can still burn and reapplying does not start the timer again.

As always, our team are available to answer all of your questions about Suncare and sunscreens.  So, if you have any questions, or would like assistance in selecting the best sunscreen for you, please come in and see us.

Children’s Brain Cancer

I’m sure we’d all agree there are not many worse things in life than children seriously ill with life-threatening disease.  Of late, I’ve become increasingly aware of some alarming information that stunned me.  Quite simply, children’s brain cancer is the biggest killer of children in our society.  It’s not car crashes, drowning or the number of other tragedies that come to mind.  On top of this, 4 out of 5 children who are diagnosed with brain cancer don’t make it to their teens.  Most stunning of all, children’s brain cancer research receives the least funding of all of the major cancers that we hear about. 

Wouldn’t you think finding a cure for the biggest killer of children would be at the top of the list?

Well-funded research has changed outcomes in many forms of cancer.  Some cancers have gone from a death sentence to 85% survival rates because the research has produced better treatments.  Children’s brain cancer treatment has hardly changed for the past 30 years.  Meaning only 1 out of 5 children survive and those that do are left affected by the treatment for the rest of their lives.

There is a group based here in Perth in the upper floors of the new children’s hospital that have brought together the best brains in this area in the world to right this wrong.  They are privately funded (rely on donations) and are starting to produce results that show these children do not have to die.  I have a personal connection through friends who have a young child affected by this condition and who actively lead the fund raising for this research group.  

We are looking to get involved in helping them out through our own fund raising and casting out the net to anyone we know who may be interested in donating to a very good cause.  The kicker here is that every dollar we raise magnifies to $10 as successful early research brings in the big pharma companies that will fund proven concepts.  But they need to be proven and that takes money.  There will be more to follow on this, but if you are interested in helping out, let me know.

Looks like the sunshine is finally coming.