20 June 2022

Love the skin you’re in

Whether you’re working on a construction site or heading off for your summer holidays, it’s imperative to take good care of your skin. Too much exposure to the sun can cause damage that can lead to skin cancer.

What causes skin cancer?

Skin cancer is one of the most common cancers and is caused by exposure to ultraviolet light from the sun and sunbeds. The good news is that, when diagnosed early, most people survive non-melanoma skin cancer. In the UK, around 147,000 new cases of non-melanoma skin cancer are diagnosed yearly [1].

Melanoma skin cancer is less common but more dangerous because it is much more likely to spread to other body areas. There are around 16,000 new cases of melanoma diagnosed each year [2].

So, whether you are working outside or lying on a beach - remember too much sun harms your skin.

Enjoying the sun safely

Cancer Research UK believes that up to 9 out of 10 cases of melanoma skin cancer could be prevented by enjoying the sun safely [3] and remember, sunburn doesn’t just happen when you’re on holiday. The sun is often intense enough in the UK to cause long-term damage to your skin if you don’t protect yourself.

Ways to prevent dangerous exposure to the sun include:

  • Keep your skin covered by clothing.
  • Wear a hat with protection for the ears and the back of the neck.
  • Stay in the shade whenever possible, especially around midday.
  • Use a high-factor sunscreen of at least SPF15 on any exposed skin.
  • Check your skin regularly for any unusual moles or spots.

Early detection is key

Unlike other cancers that develop inside your body, skin cancer can be seen. That’s why skin exams are especially vital. Cancer Research UK suggests that there are three common symptoms of skin cancer [4], which are when an area of skin:

  • doesn’t heal within four weeks,
  • looks unusual,
  • hurts, is itchy, bleeds, crusts or scabs for more than four weeks.

Because skin cancer can be so dangerous once it advances, you must follow your instincts and speak to a doctor if you find something on your skin that just doesn’t seem right.

How ECIS can help

If a ECIS scheme member is worried about a mole or skin lesion, they can call Bupa’s dermatology team who can organise a Remote Skin Assessment. Scheme members may be sent a home test kit that allows them to take high-resolution photos of their moles or skin lesions and send them to a dermatologist for review. If further investigation is required, they’ll receive a call to discuss the course of action.

If you are thinking of a private medical insurance policy for your employees or would like ECIS to review your current healthcare arrangement, speak to the ECIS team on 0330 221 0241, or email us at ecis@ecins.co.uk.

[1] https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/non-melanoma-skin-cancer/
[2] https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/melanoma-skin-cancer/
[3] https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/causes-of-cancer/sun-uv-and-cancer/the-uv-index-and-sunburn-risk
[4] https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/skin-cancer/symptoms