Skin Cancer – Prevention is key…SPF is vital!

It’s shocking to me that skin cancer is the most common cancer in Ireland!  Shocking because it is completely preventable. I know a few people that have had skin cancer and although it can be easily treated if caught early, the removal process and healing afterwards can be quite painful as well as emotional. I used always think that skin cancer was the least of my worries, I thought it could only affect the skin, and if it did, sure it’s easily removed…little did I know that it can grow down the layers of your skin and into your organs and blood making it deadly. I am a little obsessed with wearing sunglasses all year round and I nearly always wear a peak cap or straw hat if my outfit allows. Wearing SPF on the face and body is the most important thing you can do to prevent it, as well as avoiding getting burnt.  Tonight I want to share with you some facts about skin cancer, what to look out for and also my go to SPF.

Cancer – The Facts

  • Every 3 minutes someone in Ireland gets a cancer diagnosis.
  • Every hour someone dies from cancer.
  • The amount of people getting cancer each year is rising, and by 2020 1 in 2 of us will get a cancer diagnosis.
  • Cancer is the 2nd biggest killer in Ireland (accounts for approx 30% of deaths each year), after heart disease.
  • The most common cancer in Ireland is skin cancer, with over 10, 000 cases of non melanoma skin cancer and over 1,000 cases of melanoma.

Non-melanoma Skin Cancer

  • this type of skin cancer is far less likely to travel to other parts of the body and is a lot easier to treat than melanoma.
  • usually cured if identified and treated early.
  • two most common types are Basal Cell Carcinoma (found in the basal cells in the middle layer of the skin) and Squamous Cell Carcinoma(found in the upper most layers of the skin)
  • Basal Cell Carcinoma grows more slowly where as Squamous Cell Carcinoma has the ability to grow into the deeper layers of the skin.
  • Basal Cell Carcinoma(BCC) Appearance – Three types 1. Nodular: often appears on the face as a shiny, skin coloured lump. 2. Superficial: tends to appear on the chest, back and limbs appearing as a red scaly patch. 3. Morphoeic: Usually scar like hard lumps in the skin. Tends to be more aggressive. BCC’s are usually painless and grow over months to years.
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma(SCC) Appearance – usually appears in areas that is often exposed to the sun; face, backs of hands, forearms, shins and on the scalp of people who have no hair. They appear as red scaly lumps, and are often painful. SCC’s can arise quicker over a period of weeks to months.

Melanoma Skin Cancer

  • this type of cancer raises the greatest concern because it can spread to other parts of your body, like your blood and organs.
  • if this happens it can be very difficult to treat and can be fatal.
  • often occurs in young and middle aged adults
  • You are at an increased risk of melanoma if you have: pale skin that burns easily, a lot of moles, family history of melanoma, had severe sunburns in the past or use sunbeds.
  • Appearance – can appear on normal looking skin or from a mole or freckle. There’s a handy way to remember what melanoma looks like, the A, B, C, D, E. The growths tend to:
  • have an irregular BORDER
  • have multiple COLOURS
  • have a DIAMETER more than 6mm
  • EVOLVE, enlarge or change

1. Skin Cancer


  • avoid sunbeds
  • protect your skin from the sun and ALWAYS wear SPF, even when it’s cloudy
  • avoid intense sun exposure and be mindful that the sun is at it’s strongest between 12pm and 3pm
  • regularly check your skin for any changes or irregularities
  • if you notice anything out of the ordinary please please please go to your GP…if it turns out it was just a freckle…so what??! It’s better to be safe than sorry
  • bear in mind that early detection is KEY, so do not put it off if you are worried

My go to SPF

La Roche Posay Anthelios XL 50+

La Roche Posay

  • ensures super high protection for the face, is very light weight and isn’t greasy.
  • absorbs quickly into my skin and I find it works very well under my foundation, so, for me, it works as a primer too.
  • apply every morning to face and neck…please please please don’t forget your neck.
  • protects against both UVA and UVB rays and is suitable for sensitive skin.
  • helps prevent pigmentation, ie, dark spots that often appear as we age.
  • paraben and perfume free.
  • doesn’t clog pores and is water resistant.
  • no suncreen will protect you 100% so DO NOT SPEND PROLONGED PERIODS IN THE SUN, and always reapply after swimming, perspiring or towel drying.
  • costs around €19.00 from Dowling’s Pharmacy, Waterford or google search your nearest stockists.
  • La Roche Posay also do SPF for the body, there are many to choose from, so have a chat with the pharmacist, and she can recommend one suited to your needs.

2. Skin Cancer

The intention of this post wasn’t to scare people, it was simply to help people become more aware of the risks they take when they do not wear an SPF and spend a very long time under the sun. We are blessed with glorious weather the past week or so, and every day I pass people who have been absolutely scalded, and I think to myself, “I wonder do they know how easy it is to prevent it and I wonder do they know of the risks involved?” So this post is for those people, the people who might not know! It’s also for the people who might think they’re over reacting or being silly or are scared to go to the doctor. You’re not silly, you’re not over reacting…and there’s no need to be scared, your GP will listen. I hope I helped some of you and I hope you now have a better understanding of what to look out for.

Protect the Skin You’re In.



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(NOTE – This is not a sponsored post and I was not paid to give a good review of the La Roche Posay SPF.  Fiona, from Dowling’s Pharmacy sent it out to me for my consideration and for me to give my opinion on it, good or bad. When I am sent something I use it for at least 4 weeks(sometimes more), research all the ingredients, see it’s effectiveness and then share with you my own experience with the product.

To me the single most important thing about blogging is TRUST and I wouldn’t want to ruin the trust I have built up with my readers by recommending something that’s not very good. I will never put my name to a mediocre product.)