Lubricate, lubricate, lubricate, because: ‘More and more people with skin cancer’

We’re going to see the big copper cad all weekend. Finally maybe, but we should be aware of the harmful influence of the sun. The sun power can rise to 7, which means that the skin burns within 15 minutes.

And so it is necessary to apply a good amount of sunscreen. Ype Faber, dermatologist at Wilhelmina Hospital Assen (WZA), sees an increase in elderly people with a form of skin cancer. “We also see more serious cases in that group.”

Such a serious form of cancer is a melanoma. From the 1989 census through 2022, the number of cases has tripled for men and more than doubled for women. “All types of skin cancer are mainly caused by sunburn. It could therefore have been prevented if that generation had been aware of the harmful dangers of the sun at the time. Unfortunately, we cannot turn back the clock forty years,” concludes Faber.

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the Netherlands, according to the Dutch Cancer Registry (NKR). The number of people with skin cancer has more than doubled in the past 10 years. Skin cancer is usually caused by too much exposure to UV rays or tanning beds. Hundreds of people die each year from the disease.

The most common types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma (about 70 percent of all new patients), squamous cell carcinoma (about 20 percent) and melanoma (about 10 percent). In addition, there are some rare forms of skin cancer, such as Merkel cell carcinoma.

A tour of sun worshipers at the Baggelhuizerplas in Assen shows that there are still points for improvement with regard to the smearing policy. For example, a bare-chested man is baking on the edge of the puddle. “I never suffer from sunburn, so I haven’t applied any sunscreen. I know I should, but it’s been going well for years. Only when I’m peeling, I throw a little grease on it.”

Another man walks bare-chested in a circle in the full sun. “Breamed in? No dude! It’s finally nice weather, you have to enjoy it. Bake nicely, get a nice brown. You have to die of something, right?”

Youth is more nuanced. They smear each other and remain in the shade. “I don’t want to get red, but I do want to tan. Applying sunscreen is important, otherwise I’ll get skin cancer and I don’t want that,” says a girl. Her friends agree.

Because apparently not everyone understands the importance of preventing skin damage and the possible formation of skin cancer, the organization of the Hello Festival itself takes responsibility. This weekend they are providing free sunscreen. And insurer Univé offers special sunscreen dispensers at seven swimming pools in central and southwestern Drenthe. A hospital in Venlo supplies 120 primary schools with sunscreen.

Is that also something for Drenthe hospitals? “That wouldn’t be a bad investment,” says Faber. “I think we should focus more on prevention in the entire healthcare system. The municipality also makes poles with sunscreen available on the Zeeland beaches, for example. I’m not about WZA’s policy, but I would certainly recommend it.”