Posted on Friday, May 17, 2019

The prevention and free screening week for skin cancer is organized from May 20 to 24, 2019 by the National Union of Dermatologists.

In France, the number of new cases of skin cancer is estimated at 80,000 per year. The vast majority of them are due to excessive and chronic exposure to the sun.

There are two main types of skin cancer: carcinoma and melanoma.

  • Carcinomas are the most common skin cancers. They generally occur after the age of 50, on open areas of the body (face, neck, shoulders, forearms, legs, etc.), but also on any other part of the body. They often manifest as a sore that does not heal or a pimple / scab that persists and / or changes.
  • Cutaneous melanoma is the most serious of the skin cancers, due to its “high metastatic potential”, that is, its ability to spread rapidly to other parts of the body. In France, it is estimated that it affected 15,404 people and caused 1,783 deaths in 2017. It can be located anywhere on the body. It usually manifests itself in two ways: by the appearance of a small pigmented spot on healthy skin (the most common case), or by the modification of a pre-existing mole.

As part of certain missions, overseas trips, or specialties, soldiers may be exposed to UV radiation. Prevention and early detection are therefore essential.

For you, active soldier

When you are in operation in the field, when you exercise a professional or regular sporting activity in the open air:

  • It is necessary to adopt individual protective measures, in particular by wearing protective clothing against UV rays (dry, tight knit, long sleeves), and filter glasses
  • Have your skin monitored regularly (at least once a year) by a dermatologist if you are potentially at risk: you have very fair skin and you get sunburn very easily, and / or you have many moles, and / or you have a family history of skin cancer. Do not hesitate to consult your unit doctor who will be able to advise you and refer you to a specialist
  • If you have any doubt about the abnormal shape or color of a mole or a spot, consult your unit doctor who will be able to advise you and refer you to a specialist.

For you, military family

  • Avoid artificial tanning in UV cabins
  • Stay out of the sun between 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. during the summer
  • During the summer, seek shade, wear covering clothing (wide-brimmed hat, long-sleeved shirt, pants) and UV-filtering sunglasses, apply high-protection anti-UVB and anti-UVA sunscreen and renew by application every 2 hours
  • Monitor your skin and get regular dermatologist examinations (recommendations are the same as previously mentioned)
  • Protect children especially and teach them to protect themselves

A new application for better prevention

As part of the prevention of the dangers of the sun, the National Syndicate of Dermatologists, in collaboration with Météo France, has launched the “SoleilRisk” application which can be downloaded from all mobile phones. This new digital tool makes it possible to make users aware of the risks of ultraviolet rays and to better manage their exposure to the sun. This mobile application provides the UV index of the day to the user through the technique of geolocation.