Home' Northern Outlook : August 17th 2013 Contents 11
NORTHERN OUTLOOK, AUGUST 17, 2013
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Watch yourself in the sun
By JANINE SUNDBERG
We've had some beautiful sunny
days recently and it's got me
thinking about the damaging effects
that the sun can have on our skin.
Skin cancer is the most common
form of cancer in New Zealand and
two out of three New Zealanders
will suffer from it. Thankfully, most
skin cancers can be cured with early
diagnosis and treatment.
They include melanoma,
squamous cell carcinoma and basal
cell carcinoma. The most serious
form of skin cancer is melanoma,
which can be fatal in some
circumstances, but once again it can
be cured in most cases if it is
diagnosed and treated early.
Melanoma involves the abnormal
and uncontrolled growth of the
skin's pigment (tanning) cells. The
first sign of melanoma is a change in
the size, shape or colour of a freckle
or mole, or the appearance of a new
spot on the skin.
Squamous cell carcinoma is
normally found on sun-exposed
portions of the skin's surface and is
more common in people over 40. It
has the appearance of a crusty, non-
healing sore and can be tender or
sometimes it may just look like a
thickened area of skin.
The third type of skin cancer,
basal cell carcinoma is the most
common skin cancer and represents
about three-quarters of all skin
Please remember to protect
yourself from the sun, particularly
during daylight-saving months and
most definitely between 10am and
4pm. Keep in the shade wherever
possible and remember to cover up
with a broad-brimmed hat, clothing
and sunscreen and sunglasses. Use
an SPF30+, photo-stable broad-
spectrum sunscreen 20 minutes
before going out, and re-apply two-
If you are concerned about a mole
or bump on your skin, have it
checked immediately. Your GP is a
good place to start or specialist
melanoma doctors are available
through Molecheck in Christchurch.
Keep an eye on your ears
Ear health: The human ear is a
complex organ and needs to be kept
healthy in order to function well.
Ears are often taken for granted and
we sometimes only become
conscious of their function if
something goes wrong -- they
become infected or we lose the
ability to hear well.
Sometimes hearing loss is gradual
and we only become aware of it
when others notice and comment or
we find ourselves unable to hear
things that others obviously can,
particularly common, everyday
Abusive lifestyles can cause
deterioration as we age and it is
important that we set some
guidelines that will prioritise ear
Consider the following tips:
1. Never listen to loud music for
more than two hours continuously.
This includes the earphones of your
mobile devices and other appliances
that have a significant output.
2. Clean your ears with a soft
cloth. Clean the outer part of your
ear but never put anything inside
your ear canal such as cotton buds,
as this may push ear wax directly
into your ear drum.
3. Avoid severe blows to the head.
This includes contact sports such as
boxing or taking part in rugby. Wear
protective headgear where possible.
4. Avoid noisy places such as
construction sites, if at all possible
(this may not always be easy when
walking around Christchurch at the
5. If your work is at higher risk
from noise pollution, make sure that
you take a rest periodically away
from the noise source, before
continuing your work. This can
relieve your ears from extreme noise
pressure and stress. Wear ear
protection if you cannot keep away
from the noise source (such as a
6. Lower the volume of your
television, stereo and iPod. Take
special care if you use headphones
or earbuds. Be careful not to turn up
your car stereo volume too loudly to
compensate for noise from the
engine or the wind.
7. Avoid washing with unclean
water to prevent ear infections.
8. Visit your doctor at least twice
a year for an ear check up. If
possible, include it on your annual
physical examination just to make
sure you are fine. Consult any signs
and symptoms of hearing loss.
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