Topics:  skin cancer, sun protection, vitamin d

Vitamin D and sun care essential

Dr Colan McGree from the Port Curtis Medical Centre, Tank Street, Gladstone, thinks Health Summer Reads is a good idea.
Dr Colan McGree from the Port Curtis Medical Centre, Tank Street, Gladstone, thinks Health Summer Reads is a good idea. Christopher Chan

ACCORDING to Port Curtis Medical Centre doctor Colan McGree, sun safety is a double-edged sword.

Dr McGree said although skin cancer was a huge problem in Queensland, an increasing number of people were coming in with vitamin D deficiency.

He said people needed to be wary of having no contact with the sun at all as research had suggested vitamin D deficiency might increase the risk of contracting other cancers.

What was needed, Dr McGree said, was a balancing act between too much and not enough sun.

"There is a safe level, we need it, it is healthy for you," Dr McGree said.

But he said living in the Sunshine State, people needed to be aware of sun protection with the chance of getting skin cancer up around 50% for a fair-skinned person.

Most people, Dr McGree said, needed 15 to 20 minutes in the sun before 10am or after 4pm when it was not so intense.

"You need to have a hat on, you need to have sun block on, you need to have long sleeves on and you need to have long pants on.

"As much as possible you should be protected from the sun," Dr McGree said.

He encouraged people to get regular skin checks for melanoma and skin cancer.

"The normal person only needs an annual check, but they need to do their own check at home once a month on the first of the month because it's easy to remember.

"At-risk individuals who get multiple cancers need to get checked every six months."

Tanning was something he said he would not advise people to do.

"Tanning is not a good idea as it ages the skin and causes skin cancer."


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