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Skin Cancer Awareness

From 1 December to 31 January, South Africa observes Sunsmart Skin Cancer Awareness Month, hoping to raise awareness about the importance of sun protection, especially during our sunny summer weather. 

Skin cancer is a disease that involves the growth of abnormal cells in your skin tissues. Anyone can get skin cancer, regardless of age, sex or race, although some people do have a higher risk.

Who is at risk? Typically, people who:

  • spend a lot of time in the sun
  • get easily sunburned
  • live in sunny, high-altitude areas
  • have lots of moles or irregularly shaped moles
  • have a family history of skin cancer
  • have a weakened or suppressed immune system
  • have fair skin, blonde or red hair, light eyes, and freckles. 


Signs and symptoms of skin cancer:

The most significant sign of skin cancer is changes to the skin – whether it be a mole, growth, or unusual patch. Consult with your healthcare professional when you develop new moles or if existing moles change shape, size or colour. Moles that are itchy, painful, inflamed, or bleeding, or if you have a new or unusual mark on your skin, should also be checked out. 

Remember the ABCDE’s of skin cancer:






  • A – Asymmetry (irregular shape)
  • B – Border (blurry or irregularly shaped edges)
  • C – Colour (more than one colour)
  • D – Diameter (bigger than 6mm)
  • E – Evolution (enlarging, changing in shape, size or colour)


So remember to know your moles, get a medical professional to check out your skin and always take extra care of your skin by wearing sunscreen and protective clothing.