Be aware of dangers of excess sunshine
I read your recent article entitled, “I thought it was an ordinary mole” (August 12), with great interest, as I am also a melanoma survivor.
Like Mrs Sexton, I support the Bermuda Cancer and Health Centre's SunSmart initiative, which actively goes into the community to educate the public about melanoma, as well as more common and less deadly forms of skin cancer, and the simple steps people can take to reduce the dangers of excess sun exposure.
I am excited that the Bermuda Weather Service, a department of BAS-Serco, has collaborated with the Bermuda Cancer and Health Centre to not only establish official daily UV (ultraviolet) Index forecasting for the Island, which is published on the weather page of The Royal Gazette, but also to install a UV radiometer to measure the precise values of UV radiation that Bermuda receives each day.
This UV meter is an amazing tool, which everyone should be aware of. To find it, look on the Bermuda Weather Service homepage. Click on “UV index graph” on the left of the screen and you will see a colourful graph showing the UV levels in real time here in Bermuda. The values fluctuate depending on weather conditions such as cloud cover, but it is easy to see the UV levels increasing steadily from about 11am, reaching a peak about 1pm and decreasing gradually through the afternoon.
This data is essential to help members of the public to prepare appropriately for their time out in the sun, and to monitor the UV index levels throughout the day and, indeed, throughout the whole year.
As referenced in your article, there is an element of genetics/heredity with respect to skin cancer.
As a freckled redhead who grew up in Bermuda worshipping the sun, it was perhaps inevitable that I would be given a diagnosis of skin cancer later in life, but what may not be well understood is that black people can get it too.
In fact, the mother of one of my best friends died from complications of melanoma.
We should all take sensible precautions to protect ourselves from the sun's harmful rays, which goes a long way towards reducing the risk of contracting this cancer.
LYNANNE SHARPE BOLTON BSc (Pharm)
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