Recently, I took a little trip to Beautiful British Columbia, and while in Vancouver visiting friends, David Barnard of the Save Your Skin Foundation - A Not-For-Profit Foundation raising funds for education, awareness, providing emotional and financial support to those dealing with skin cancer - gave me this brilliant idea.
With patio/beach/camping/everything outdoors season well underway (In the Northern Hemisphere anyway), it's very important to "check your skin head to toe once a month" for signs of skin cancer, says the foundation. But that just sounds so boring! Unless all those lovers out there want to make a sexy game of it...
But how do you make melanoma prevention sexy? Here are a few suggestions from Yours Truly:
- While taking a shower together, how about checking for the signs of cancer while you lather each other up?
- Before heading to the beach, pic-nic or patio, why don't you turn sunscreen application (at least 15 spf!) into a sexy massage? (You might just be late showing up.)
- At least once a month, make it a point to kiss every part of your partners body, slowly and sensually. Look for the signs at the same time, and get them to return the favour.
But what exactly are you looking for? There is a very simple A-B-C-D-E rule for spotting the signs of melanoma lesions. They look different from regular freckles and moles in the following ways:
A is for Asymmetry - If a line divided through the middle of the mole doesn't create equal halves - see your doctor.
B is for Border Irregularity - Regular moles have even borders. See your doctor if your mole has an irregular, uneven border.
C is for Colour Change -Regular moles are usually a single shade of brown. If you see varying shades of brown, tan or black, it might mean there are the initial phases of melanoma at work. As melanoma progresses, you may see the colours red, white and blue. (For my American friends, this is one case NOT to celebrate)
D is for Diameter greater than 5 mm (or .2 inches) - The smaller the melanoma at time of diagnosis, the lower the chance of recurrence once removed. See your doctor if your mole is the diameter of a pencil eraser or larger.
E is for Evolving or Changing Lesion -If your lesion has changed appearance in the last month, you should see your doctor. Changes include:
- Size - sudden or continuous enlargement
- Colour of surrounding skin - skin around mole becomes red or develops blemishes
- Elevation - a once flat mole suddenly or rapidly increases elevation
- Surface - A smooth mole develops scaliness, erosion or oozing. Crusting, ulceration or bleeding are signs of more advanced disease
- Sensation - Itching is the most common early symptom. Tenderness or pain are also warning signs. (But skin cancers are mostly painless.)
So remember: This summer, stay safe, and most of all, stay sexy.