The Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA) urges all South Africans to play safe in the sun and reduce the high incidence of skin cancer in the country, one the most common cancers in South Africa with almost 20 000 new cases every year.
"The good news is that skin cancer can be prevented, make sure you and your loved ones play safe all year round, but especially in summer time when the sun’s rays are the harshest. Make informed choices on selecting the right sun screen, protective clothing and staying in the shade", says Sue Janse van Rensburg, CANSA’s CEO.
CANSA plays an important 'watchdog' role for South Africans by acting proactively and educating the public on protecting themselves against skin damage and cancer.
"We encourage children and youth especially to play safe in the sun – two blistering burns before the age of 18 can dramatically increase your risk of getting cancer later in life" she added.
Look out for the CANSA Seal
Look out for sunscreen and apparel products with the CANSA Seal of Recognition (CSOR) emblem. Products are tested by two sunscreen testing laboratories that align to widely recognised international standards to ensure the criteria are met before being awarded the CANSA Seal.
Members of the public can use products bearing this emblem with confidence, knowing that the products were tested locally and have been approved for their protection abilities.
To help fight skin cancer and play safe in the sun, CANSA advocates the following:
- Cover up by wearing thickly woven fabric to prevent the sun’s harmful rays of reaching the skin. Wear a hat with a brim to protect the ears, nose, back of the neck and the face. Look out for UV protective swimsuits and beach wear, rash-vests, etc. that have UV protection factors. The rating for fabric is UPF (Ultra Violet Protection Factor) and they range from UPF20, 30, 40 and the maximum, UPF50.
- Always apply sunscreen of at least SPF 20 (Sun protection Factor) to all exposed skin areas.
- Protect your eyes against the sun by wearing sunglasses of at least UV400 ultra violet rating. Wrap-sunglasses ensures less UV from reaching the eyes.
- Avoid direct sunlight in the danger period between 10am and 3pm and seek shade where possible. All schools should include hats as part of the uniform and move outdoor activities outside the danger-period. Sufficient shade must be provided for learners during breaks and outdoor gatherings.
- Avoid using sunbeds and sunlamps at all costs as they are dangerous and research indicates that they double your risk of developing skin melanomas, the most dangerous form of skin cancer. CANSA has recommended that the Department of Health ban sunbeds and sunlamps.
- Take special care to protect children. Babies younger than one year should never be exposed to direct sunlight.
- All outside workers, for example, farmworkers and construction workers, should be provided with protective clothing including hats.
- Check your skin regularly for changes, unusual marks or moles. An annual medical check-up should include a skin check to detect possible skin cancer early. Everyone exposed to the sun is at risk of developing skin cancer whether you have light or dark skin.
Emthunzini Hats awarded the CANSA Seal of Recognition
Emthunzini hats have been awarded The Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA) Seal of Recognition (CSOR) symbolizing that their products offer the assurance of protection against the harmful effects of the sun.
Their fashionable range of sunhats for men, women and children have been especially tested and verified as meeting the UPF 50+ requirements. UPF testing involves exposing a fabric to Ultraviolet Radiation (UVR) and measuring how much is transmitted through the sample.
Different wavelengths of radiation in the UVR spectrum have different effects on human skin and this is taken into consideration when calculating the UPF rating.
In an effort to reduce the incidence of skin cancer in South Africa, CANSA are acting proactively to help the public protect themselves against skin damage and cancer. The partnership between Emthunzini Hats and CANSA is in keeping with this philosophy.
"We play an important ‘watchdog’ role for South Africans by advocating safety in the sun and looking out for products and partners that help to protect their faces from the invisible damaging UV rays of the sun. UV radiation can be high even on cool and overcast days", says Sue Janse van Rensburg, CANSA’s CEO.
Naturally, wearing an Emthunzini hat is not enough, sunscreen must be applied regularly and if possible UV protection clothing should be worn, particularly with children.