Republish this article
5th July 2016

5 high-tech ways to prevent the world’s most common cancer

Skin cancer affects millions of people every year but smart new technologies can help curb your risk this summer

Getting a little sun can be great for your health. Vitamin D helps build stronger bones, natural light has mental health benefits and sunlight has even been linked with reduced risk of certain cancers.

However, like most things in life, enjoying the sun is all about moderation. Too much sun can be dangerous. Unsafe or excessive exposure to the sun’s UV rays can damage skin over time and lead to skin cancer.

The face, neck, back and limbs are the zones most frequently affected by skin cancer as these are the parts of the body most likely to be exposed to UVA and UVB sun rays. People aged over 50 are at most risk but skin cancer can affect people of all ages.

Striking the balance

Getting the right amount of sunlight without putting yourself at risk of skin cancer can be tricky. Fortunately, researchers have been working on a range of new e-health, mobile health (m-health) and wearable technologies to keep your skin safe.

One beauty product to generate a lot of buzz this year is June– a jewel-like bracelet that measures your exposure to the sun. It comes with a companion app which allows you to monitor the UV index in your locality, alerting you when the risk of sunburn reaches dangerous levels.

Cosmetics companies have also come up with lower-tech solutions such as simple UV patches that track exposure to dangerous rays and changes colour when the risk is highest. Kid-friendly wrist-bands are also available to help keep little ones sun safe.

Another way to keep children’s UV exposure in check is the watch-like SunFriend which can be worn throughout the day – even in the swimming pool. The device comes in a range of colours and can be adjusted to suit the user, depending on how sensitive their skin is to the sun.

Ultra Violet, a clip-on device paired with an app, tracks UV exposure, along with daily Vitamin D production, to help strike the balance between too much and too little sunlight. When it’s time to reapply sunscreen or take a time-out in the shade, the device vibrates or sends a message offering advice to the user.

And last, but by no means least, there’s an app for that… In fact, there are several. These include the UVmeter, an iPhone app that tells you the UV index in your location and offers forecasts of future UV levels. Armed with this information, holidaymakers can decide how to dress, whether to bring sunscreen and when it would be safest to be outside. Similarly, another app, SunZapp, makes hourly forecasts based on scientific data and offers tips on what to wear and how to stay protected. And there are hundreds more besides.

The beauty of medtech

These attractive, easy-to-use gadgets are the latest example of how medical technologies are becoming more user-friendly and consumer-focused.

Of course, if you’re making important decisions about your health, be sure to choose quality products and always consult a health professional.

This is part one of our Summer of e-Health series where we showcase how medtech helps you take care of yourself and be ready to enjoy your Summer holidays to the fullest.