Skin Cancer – The Facts By Annette Matthews

The Skin We Are In

There are multiple manifestations of dermatological diseases and disorders that can occur being the largest external organ of the body with many vital functions.

With around 90% of factors relating to skin ageing and damage being preventable, education and preventative measures are key for our clients.

UVA and UVB radiation are a huge contributing factor and education on the use of skincare antioxidants and SPF should be at the forefront of any aesthetic or cosmetic procedure.

Skin Cancer – The Problem.

Rates of skin cancer are increasing faster than any other cancer in the UK, with figures doubling every 10-20 years.

Skin Cancer – The Facts:

  • Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the UK.
  • More people die from skin cancer in the UK than in Australia.
  • Melanoma, the most deadly skin cancer, is now one of the most common cancers in young adults aged 15-34 in the UK.
  • Over the last twenty-five years, rates of Melanoma in Britain have risen faster than any other common cancer.
  • Over 80% of all skin cancers are caused by over-exposure to the sun and/or sun beds
  • 7 people currently die each day as a result of skin cancer in the UK!
  • Approximately 12,800 (35 people per day) were diagnosed with malignant melanoma in
    2010 in the UK.
  • Malignant melanoma is almost twice as common in young women (up to age 34) as in young men, but more men die from it.
  • Worldwide, an estimated 200,000 people were diagnosed with malignant melanoma in 2008.
  • Like most cancers, skin cancer is more common with increasing age, but malignant melanoma is disproportionately high in younger people. More than one-third of all cases of malignant melanoma occur in people aged under 55.

Preventative skin routines are essential and familiarising yourself with self-help and products is a great start, most over the counter make ups and creams contain some form of SPF.

I would however highly recommend seeing a skin specialist or clinic to ascertain your skin type and concerns and address other factors along with the essentials.

As a Dental Therapist and Hygienist I see patients head necks and decollate routinely and with my aesthetic hat on I am all to familiar with skin and aesthetic procedures in my own skin clinic.

I utilise my ‘window of opportunity’ with my patients which can be as frequent as every 3 months in a dental aspect or monthly at my skin clinic.

I use this time to asses my patients needs (the reason they came) but also to check out any new lumps, bumps or lesions they may or may not be aware of in areas easy to miss in a mirror.

It’s having this mindset and avoidance of tunnel vision that has highlighted several cases to me of which I rightly referred.

The SKCIN Charity (SKCIN: THE KAREN CLIFFORD SKIN CANCER CHARITY / REGISTERED CHARITY: 1150048 ) have produced an incredible online module which is accessible for all of those in a public facing role.

To be completed annually the MASCED training module is a vital form of continual professional development for anybody working with people and in the public domain.

The module is repeated yearly to ensure up to date and concise understanding of manifestations we may indeed come across can be recognised and indeed referred.

Basic warning signs to detect:

  • A growth that increases in size and appears pearly, translucent, tan, brown, black, or multi-coloured
  • A mole (that looks different from your other moles)
  • A mole, birthmark, beauty mark, or any brown spot that:
    • Varies in colour
    • Increases in size or thickness
    • Changes in texture
    • Is irregular in outline
    • Is bigger than 6mm or 1/4″, the size of a pencil eraser
    • Appears after age 21
    • A new red or darker colour flaky patch that may be a little raised
    • A new flesh-coloured firm bump
    • An open sore that doesn’t heal
    • A spot or sore that continues to itch, hurt, crust, scab, erode, or bleed

Ensuring your skin care professional, salon, spa or aesthetic clinic maintains this accreditation would give you the piece of mind they know how to help look out for you and your skin and comes highly recommended by myself for all the team to complete;For more information please visit

 by Annette Matthews- DipDHT Sheffield

Annette is a patient focused dental professional with a keen interest in cosmetic and aesthetic dentistry, skin ageing and facial aesthetics.

Hoping to study further this year into skin ageing and facial aesthetics at a masters level Annette is keen to increase awareness and indeed access to healthcare professionals for patients.

A challenge has been the perception of a ‘dental therapist’ in both a public and professional arena and Annette is keen to change this by providing information and education to the public and her peers.

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