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Providing sun safety advice: The midwife's role

02 June 2017
Volume 25 · Issue 6


There is currently a global increase in women being diagnosed with melanoma during their childbearing years. Many women are delaying motherhood and pregnancy, and starting their families later in life, after completing education and establishing careers. As melanoma incidences increase with age, more women could be faced with developing melanoma before or during pregnancy. Therefore, midwives play an intrinsic role in proving information and education regarding sun safety for themselves, their newborns and families.

Of all the different types of cancer diagnosed globally, skin cancer is the most prolific (Nguyen et al, 2012), and melanoma remains the major cause of death from skin cancer (Trakatelli et al, 2012). The incidence of melanoma skin cancer in the UK is projected to rise by 7% between 2014 and 2035, to 32 cases per 100 000 people by 2035 (Cancer Research UK, 2017). These figures suggest that 1 in 54 people will be diagnosed with malignant melanoma during their lifetime. There is a significant rise in the incidence of melanoma being diagnosed in childbearing women, accounting for 25% of all cancers in pregnant women (Jhaveri et al, 2011). Ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation, caused by the exposure of sunlight to unprotected skin, causes erythema (redness) and oedema (swelling), leading to inflammation and sunburn (D'Orazio et al, 2013).

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