CANSA plays an important ‘watchdog’ role for South Africans by acting proactively and educating the public on protecting themselves against skin damage and cancer. “We encourage children and youth especially to play safe in the sun – two blistering burns before the age of 18 can dramatically increase your risk of getting cancer later in life” she added.
Look out for sunscreen and apparel products with the CANSA Seal of Recognition (CSOR) emblem. Products are tested by two sunscreen testing laboratories that align to widely recognised international standards to ensure the criteria are met before being awarded the CANSA Seal. Members of the public can use products bearing this emblem with confidence, knowing that the products were tested locally and have been approved for their protection abilities.
To help fight skin cancer and play safe in the sun, CANSA advocates the following:
• Cover up by wearing thickly woven fabric to prevent the sun’s harmful rays of reaching the skin. Wear a hat with a brim to protect the ears, nose, back of the neck and the face. Look out for UV protective swimsuits and beach wear, rash-vests, etc. that have UV protection factors. The rating for fabric is UPF (Ultra Violet Protection Factor) and they range from UPF20, 30, 40 and the maximum, UPF50.
• Always apply sunscreen of at least SPF 20 (Sun protection Factor) to all exposed skin areas.
• Protect your eyes against the sun by wearing sunglasses of at least UV400 ultra violet rating. Wrap-sunglasses ensures less UV from reaching the eyes.
• Avoid direct sunlight in the danger period between 10am and 3pm and seek shade where possible. All schools should include hats as part of the uniform and move outdoor activities outside the danger-period. Sufficient shade must be provided for learners during breaks and outdoor gatherings.
• Avoid using sunbeds and sunlamps at all costs as they are dangerous and research indicates that they double your risk of developing skin melanomas, the most dangerous form of skin cancer. CANSA has recommended that the Department of Health ban sunbeds and sunlamps.
• Take special care to protect children. Babies younger than one year should never be exposed to direct sunlight.
• All outside workers, for example, farmworkers and construction workers, should be provided with protective clothing including hats.
• Check your skin regularly for changes, unusual marks or moles. An annual medical check-up should include a skin check to detect possible skin cancer early. Everyone exposed to the sun is at risk of developing skin cancer whether you have light or dark skin.
About CANSA's SunSmart campaign:
Clicks is the main sponsor for CANSA’s SunSmart campaign from November to February and includes talks, exhibitions, visits to schools, holiday resorts and beaches. Skin clinics are also held at inland holiday destinations as well as on beaches where a dermatologist joins the CANSA staff and volunteers to examine members of the public on request.
About The Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA):
CANSA’s purpose is to lead the fight against cancer in South Africa by offering a unique and integrated service to the public and all people affected by cancer.
As a leading role-player in cancer research, the scientific findings and knowledge gained from our research are used to realign our health programmes as well as focus our watchdog initiatives to the greater benefit of the public. CANSA has more than 330 staff, 12 000 volunteers, 51 offices as well as 12 interim homes countrywide.
(For more information on playing safe in the sun, contact CANSA toll-free on 0800 22 66 22 or see www.cansa.org.za.)