Home Health & Food WHO launches new app to curb skin cancer

WHO launches new app to curb skin cancer

by James Davies

Oluwatobiloba Jaiyeola

The World Health Organisation has announced the launch of a new mobile application that would help curb skin cancer.

The application, according to the WHO, is to help protects individuals’ from excessive ultraviolet exposure, a key cause of skin cancer and other ultraviolet-related diseases.

The WHO said the app will enable individuals to be aware of when to use sun protection, adding that it will help to lessen the burden of skin cancer and UV-related eye damage, globally.

According to the WHO, the app is programmed to give localised information regarding radiation levels in UV and also, highlight time slots when protection from the sun is necessary.

The global health agency said the launch of the SunSmart Global UV app was done in collaboration with, the World Meteorological Organisation, the United Nations Environment Programme, and the International Labour Organisation.

The WHO director, Department of Environment, Climate Change and Health, Dr. Maria Neira, said, “Evidence shows that overexposure to UV is the major cause of skin cancer. 

“So it’s vital for people to know when and how to protect ourselves.

“We encourage everyone to use the application to protect themselves and their children, and to make this a daily habit.”

Although, the sun is necessary for everyone majorly for the production of Vitamin D because it assists to prevent the occurrence of bone diseases like rickets, osteomalacia and osteoporosis. 

The WHO however said too much sun can be hazardous, and even life-threatening. 

According to the WHO, in 2020, an estimated more than 1.5 million skin cancer cases were diagnosed globally, adding that over 120,000 individuals around the world also died from this very preventable disease.

The WHO noted saying, “one of the main factors contributing to these cancers is excess UV radiation from thinning of the earth’s stratospheric ozone layer resulting from the release of certain manmade chemicals.

“Under the international treaty known as the Montreal Protocol, all United Nations Member States are phasing out the production and consumption of those substances according to a specific timetable.

“As a result of these continuing efforts, the ozone level is projected to recover by mid-century. In the meantime, individuals need to be particularly cautious to protect themselves from receiving too much UV exposure – this is where the UV app plays an important awareness role,” it said.

The Executive Secretary of UNEP’s Ozone Secretariat, Ms. Meg Seki, said, “The Montreal Protocol protects the stratospheric ozone layer which, in turn, protects human health and the environment by blocking most of the sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation from reaching the earth’s surface.

“Skin cancer can result from overexposure to the sun, so everyone must remain vigilant and ensure they protect themselves adequately with hats and sunscreen. 

“The SunSmart app is a fantastic UV monitoring tool, and I would encourage everyone to use it,” she said.

The global health agency said, “The UV App has been launched to coincide with the first day of summer in the northern hemisphere. By increasing the public’s awareness and helping to reduce the incidence of skin cancer, this application ultimately supports the achievement of UN Sustainable Development Goal 3, which aims to ensure healthy lives and well-being worldwide by 2030.”

In addition, “Much of UV-related illness and death can be avoided through a set of simple prevention measures such as limit time in the midday sun, seek shade when UV rays are most intense, wear protective clothing, hats, and sunglasses, and use a broad-spectrum sunscreen of sun protection.

“Protecting children from extended periods in the sun is particularly important as excessive sun exposure during these early years can significantly increase the risk of UV-related diseases later in life,” it said.

The UN health agency added, “The SunSmart Global UV app is available free of charge at both the Apple App and Google Play stores. 

“It provides exposure, a major cause of skin cancer and other UV-related diseases.  

“Also, the app provides five-day UV and weather forecasts at searchable locations.

“The app allows the inclusion of national and local data streams and adaptation to multiple languages – it is currently available in Chinese, English, French, German, Russian, Dutch, and Spanish.”

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