The Aussies have got it right, according to Mr Marc Pacifico, Consultant Plastic Surgeon
WITH INDIA BEING CROWNED CHAMPIONS and England starting their summer campaign next month, the cricket season is truly upon us. With it (hopefully!) come the sunshine and the long days of summer. However…as much as we all enjoy the feeling of the sun on our skin, we really should be taking precautions against the sun’s damaging effects. In Australia, everyone knows to “slip, slop, slap” – we should be slipping on a shirt, slopping on the sunscreen and slapping on a hat.
Consultant Plastic Surgeon, Mr Marc Pacifico, treats many people with sun-induced skin cancer. “We are seeing more and more people coming for treatment of skin cancer, at ever younger ages. The “cricketer’s tan” of a burnt face and burnt arms is no laughing matter – if these areas are not protected, they are at a much higher risk of developing skin cancer in the future”. Mr Pacifico spent 6- months working in Australia several years ago where he feels the general attitudes to sun protection are years ahead of us. “In Australia, there really is no such thing as a “healthy tan”. The first thing you are offered if you go round to someone’s house for a BBQ is a bottle of sun tan lotion (just before the bottle of beer!)”. Broadly, there are three common forms of skin cancer: the most deadly is melanoma, which can be life-threatening and is increasingly common. Other forms include squamous cell carcinoma, and the most common form of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma (BCC, also known as rodent ulcers). “BCCs are generally thought of as occurring in people over 50, but we are now treating more and more people in their twenties, sometimes with quite extensive surgery to their faces.” Mr Pacifico’s advice to everyone (spectator, player, or anyone else going in the sun) is borrowed directly from downunder: “they’ve got it right in Australia – we all should be slipping, slopping and slapping!”
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