Skin protection tips for VUT employees ahead of the festive

By: Puleng Maphisa – 01 December 2022


Dr Nthabiseng Modiga- Medical Doctor from Vanderbijlpark Medi-Clinic

November and December are summer months that are always sunny and hot, requiring a lot of sun protection and water. To help the Vaal University of Technology (VUT)’s employees protect their skin against these weather conditions, the Human Resource Department recently brought Dr Nthabiseng Modiga- Medical Doctor from Vanderbijlpark Medi-Clinic to talk to them about the risk of exposure to the sun.

The department said that since we are approaching the festive season, with excitement running high, people tend to forget that while enjoying the sun, there is an increased risk of developing Melanoma.

During her health talk, Dr Modiga, spoke intensely about skin care and shared tips. She explained that cancer is a condition that causes abnormal growth of skin cells – these causes include DNA damage commonly occurring due to exposure to ultraviolet (UV) Rays, genetic defects, and exposure to pollutants.

She said they are the top 5 cancers and the number one is Prostate Cancer, followed by Colorectal Cancer, Lung Cancer, Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and Melanoma.

Dr Modiga mentioned four types of skin cancer: Basal cell carcinoma, Squamous cell carcinoma, and Merkel cell cancer. The most severe type of skin cancer is Melanoma which occurs when the pigment-producing cells that give colour to the skin become cancerous. The symptoms might include a new, unusual growth or a change in an existing mole, which can occur anywhere on the body.

In most cases, the common symptoms of Melanoma are:

  • Bigger mole diameter.
  • Darkening of the skin.
  • Mole colour changes.
  • Skin mole with an irregular border.

Skin cancer treatment varies and may include surgery and sometimes chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Doctors usually use different types of medication to treat cancer. The treatment can be by destroying actinic keratoses and some small, early skin cancer by freezing. And they use liquid nitrogen (cryosurgery) and do excisional surgery, Mohs surgery, curettage and electrodesiccation or cryotherapy, photodynamic therapy and biological therapy.

Dr Modiga said that the sun could be good for our skin, but too much of it can also be hazardous. The causes of skin cancer are excessive exposure to the sun, UV Rays, effects and free radicals, mutations, sunburns, sunny or high-altitude climates, moles and precancerous skin lesions.

Preventing cancer can be done by avoiding the sun and adhering to sunscreen creams, sun hats, and umbrellas, eating healthy, being active, avoiding tobacco, protecting from HPV/HIV and avoiding going out at scorching times in the day.

“People should avoid being in the sun by all means because cancer treatment can be costly, and all the surgeries can cost above R120 000,” said Dr Modiga.