There are many myths about melanoma but now it’s time to ignore the myths and listen to the facts. Here are common misconceptions about melanoma and skin cancer:
MYTH: People with dark skin colour don’t get melanoma.
FACT: People with lighter skin and eye colour are at high risk, but anyone can get melanoma.
MYTH: Once a melanoma has been cut out, it’s gone.
FACT: One reason melanoma is the most lethal of all skin cancers is because at only 1mm deep it can get into your blood stream and easily spread to other parts of your body. Even if you have a melanoma removed, secondary cancers can form in your bones, your lungs, your heart or your head.
MYTH: Melanoma is only a concern for middle age and older adults.
FACT: Melanoma is also a concern for young adults and even teenagers. Melanoma is the most common skin cancer amongst 15-39 year olds.
MYTH: The sun’s not out today, I’ll be fine without any protection.
FACT: It is recommended to wear and array of sun protection (not just sunscreen) whenever the UV Rating is 3 or higher. In Australia even some of our coldest days have a rating over 3 meaning we need to be vigilant all year round. Refer to our New Approach to Sunscreen blog for more information.
The average sized adult requires about 7 teaspoons (35ml) of sunscreen for their whole body every application.
MYTH: Sunscreen is the only form of protection I need to prevent melanoma or skin cancer.
FACT: A broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses are also necessary. It’s also advised to avoid being outside during the middle of the day when UV rays are at their strongest, between 10:00am and 2:00pm.
MYTH: I’ve built up my tan over time to help the fight against melanoma and skin cancer.
FACT: Any change in your natural skin colour is a sign of skin damage which could increase your chances of developing a melanoma or skin cancer later in life. There is nothing healthy about a tan! Opt for sunless tanning options instead, such as gradual-tanning lotion or bronzer.
MYTH: My make-up contains sunscreen so I don’t need anything else on my face.
FACT: Unfortunately the sunscreen in make-up usually does not provide the recommended amount of coverage, SPF 30 or above. You also need to reapply sunscreen throughout the day to ensure you remain protected.
MYTH: Moles aren’t cancerous and aren’t likely to cause melanoma.
FACT: Having a lot of moles or moles that have irregular features can increase your melanoma risk.
MYTH: It’s too expensive to get screened for skin cancer.
FACT: You can start at home by checking yourself (or have your partner check for you) for suspicious moles, for no cost. Cost or no cost, if diagnosed with melanoma, your prognosis could depend on early detection which is critical for survival.