SKIN CANCER AWARENESS: Melanoma, and the recipe for sunscreen!

Melanoma, and the recipe for sunscreen!

What do you know about Melanoma Skin Cancer?

*Warning- The following write up contains several images of skin cancer that some may find graphic.  Please view at your own discretion but it is important to be able to identify skin cancer early *

We have one more week until our Skin Cancer Awareness Campaign is wrapped up.  We’re so thrilled with all the excitement and ideas that you have sent us.  As always, we hope you’ve enjoyed our past write up’s.  As Nicki from Abbotsford stated “There’s no comprising with sun safety”.  This week we’re focusing on the most aggressive form of skin cancer: Melanoma.

Feel free to keep sending in your photos and stories about YOUR cancer journey until August 31st

Please send your submissions including your name, address and location to Northern Regional Health Coordinator, Katina Pollard at or text 250-242-1649.

According to BC Cancer, the chance of developing skin cancer in British Columbia is about

1 in 7.

Notice of Risk – Please note that Métis Nation British Columbia’s Ministry of Health has not investigated the effectiveness of the below recipe. We recognize that zinc oxide is an ingredient in some sunscreens. Please use at your own risk.

Recipe for Natural Homemade:

Sun Screen

½ cup of olive oil

¼ cup of fractionated (liquid) coconut oil

¼ cup of melted bees wax

2 tbsp zinc oxide

1 tsp vitamin E oil

2 tbsp shea butter

12 drops of Helichrysm essential oil

12 drops of Myrrh essential oil

Place ingredients in a jar & use before going in the sun

Submitted by Marie Ann Roche – Vermillion Forks Metis Association

What is Melanoma Skin Cancer?

In Melanoma skin cancer, the melanocyte cells grow and destroys healthy skin tissue. Melanocytes are important because they make melanin which gives skin, hair and eyes their colour. Usually melanoma may lead to unusual looking moles on your skin.  It is important to note, if you do have any of the below on your body it does not automatically mean you have skin cancer.  It is however, still important to document and report any new findings on your body to a health care professional immediately.  There are 4 main types of melanoma skin cancer – superficial spreading, nodular, lentigo maligna and acral lentiginous.  You can learn more about the different types of melanoma on the BC Cancer or Canadian Cancer Society’s webpage.

What is the cause of Melanoma Skin Cancer?

The same as non-melanoma, the risk of developing melanoma skin cancer increases with age. However, they are finding young adults between the ages of 15-29 are developing the disease.  There are several risk factors which could lead to an earlier diagnosis.  These include: UV exposure, many moles, atypical moles, weakened immune system, fair complexion (light skin, hair or eye tones), and a family history of skin cancer.

Let’s learn about the most common type of melanoma skin cancer:

The most common type of melanoma skin cancer is Superficial spreading melanoma.

Superficial Spreading Melanoma

Superficial Spreading Melanoma accounts for nearly 70% of all melanomas skin cancers.  Generally, the earlier melanoma skin cancer is diagnosed and treated, the better the outcome.  Superficial spreading melanoma usually develops on the central part of the body (trunk), arms and legs. It tends to happen on the back in men and the legs in women.

What you want to look for:

(Skin Cancer Foundation, 2020)

  1. Melanoma tends to grow outward (called radial growth) and spread across the surface of the skin
  2. It is often flat and thin (less than 1 mm thick) with an uneven border.
  3. It varies in colour and may have different shades of red, blue, brown, black, grey and white.
  4. It may appear at first as a small mole, or atypical mole.

Prognosis and Treatment?

In Canada, the 5-year net survival for melanoma skin cancer is 88%. This means that, on average, about 88% of people diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer will survive for at least 5 years.  Melanoma is more dangerous then other skin cancers because of its ability to spread to other organs more rapidly. Early diagnosis is important and improves your survival rate significantly. 

There are several treatment options for melanoma skin cancer, but the most common is surgery.  Other treatments include immunotherapy, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and clinical trials.   When choosing your treatment options, you will have a dedicated health care team who will go over all the options available to you for your cancer journey.  You may or may not be able to receive some of the about treatments.  Treatment options are based on the stage of the cancer, risk of recurrence, location, and your own personal choice.

“Promise me you’ll always remember: You are BRAVER than you believe, stronger than you seen, smarter than you think and twice asbeautiful as you’d ever imagined”