FoCP campaign stresses that prevention is better than cure
Sharjah 20 May 2013: May is International Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month and Friends of Cancer Patients (FoCP) -the cancer specific charitable society - is throwing the spotlight on skin cancer by launching a nationwide campaign aimed at increasing awareness about the disease and highlighting preventive measures.
The campaign is targeting twelve universities across the country, over 100 schools as well, where a series of elegant but thought provoking posters will be put up with an aim to encourage individuals, especially the youth, to think carefully and protect themselves from prolonged UV exposure.
Labelled “Don't do to your skin what you won't do to your clothes” and “There's nothing fashionable about skin cancer. Avoid excessive exposure to the sun”, these posters are provided to universities with an aim to encourage young steers to take pro-active action to protect their skinfrom sundamage.
Commenting on the widespreadimpact of skin cancer, Dr Sawsan Al Madhi, Secretary General for Friends of Cancer Patients charitable society (FoCP), said, “According to the World Health Organisation, the occurrence of both non-melanoma and melanoma skin cancers has been on the riseover the past few decades. Currently,around 3 million non-melanoma and 132,000 melanoma skin cancer patients are being diagnosed globally every year.
“The incidence of skin cancer also rises sharply in lower latitude areasdue to the much higher levels of UV radiation that these regions are exposed to. Intense radiation is one of the major factors behind skin cancer, therefore making it a prime concern for the UAE. It is therefore vital that the people of the UAE are educated about the dangers of too much sun exposure and the preventive measures that can be taken in this regard.” she said further.
Dr Al Madhi, went on to emphasise the importance of early detection stating, “Skin cancer, if detected early, has a 100% cure rate, which is FoCP is expending every possible effort to ensure that people are aware of what signs to be on look out for and even more importantly what measures to take to limit their chances of contracting skin cancer.”
The initiative forms part of FoCP's “Kashf” early detection programme which is charged withspreading awareness about the importance of the early detection of cancer. The charity'sdecision to focus on universities and schools stems from a number of reasons. Students tend to spend far more time outdoors and within the reach of harmful radiation and therefore need to be more mindful of preventive measures. Also, by imbedding the concept of skin protection amongst the younger generation, FoCP aims to create a positive cascading effect where these students will then impart the positive habits that they build at this point into the lives of their Families and children at a later stage.
Dr Al Mahdi went on to stress that although a certain amount of sun exposure is necessary to ensure good health - in terms of ensuring general mental health and the production of vitamin D -spending extended periods of time in direct contact with the sun has been proven to be damaging to the skin.And this damage, in the case of UV radiation, is also cumulative. It is therefore vital that everyone, regardless of skin tone, take preventive measures,such as using a good quality, high SPF sunscreen on a daily basis and avoiding sun exposure during the hotdays, when the sun is at its highest and radiation levels follow suit.
Amina El Marzak, Director Student and Alumni Affairs at University of Dubai – one of the many educational institutes taking part in FoCP's skin cancer awareness campaign – said, “Too much exposure to the sun or ultraviolet (UV) radiation is the main cause behind skin cancer. What young people don't realize is that skin cancer is mainly a lifestyle disease and can be prevented by implementing simple precautionary measures; like covering your head with a wide brimmed hat when going out during the days, wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants, using sunscreens with atleast 15 SPF and avoiding unnecessary tanning and sun exposure, all of which can decease the chances of skin cancer many times over.”