As one cancer survivor tells us, no one is safe from skin cancer in South Africa

“I never, ever, thought I’d get skin cancer. But how wrong can a person be?” says Stephan Brink, CANSA Active National Manager, “When it happened to me I couldn’t have been more shocked.”

“One day I was driving to work and my wife asked me, ‘What’s that mark on your nose?’ I must have scratched myself in my sleep, I thought. I wasn’t worried. But she wasn’t happy and dragged me off to the doctor.

“I have a lot to thank her for, because if I had delayed treatment I might have died.

“The fear of not being around to see my beautiful 15-year-old daughter and my 17-year-old ‘rugger-bugger’ grow up, gave me cold shivers. Now as Christmas approaches I’m so thankful I’ll get to spend another year with them.”

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Brink’s minor surgery ended up being a major operation. To gain a clear margin around the deep malignant growth, most of his nostril was removed. A skin flap was made with his cheek to rebuild his nose.

Now more than ever before, Brink knows it’s clever to be SunSmart and with this awful experience under his belt, he’s putting his heart and soul into our summer campaign!

What causes skin cancer?

Most skin cancers are caused by over-exposure to UV rays and sun damage can build up over many years without us knowing a thing about it.

Only in recent years have the dangers of working and playing outdoors in the sun, day after day, become more widely known.

Did you know that just five sunburns increases your risk of melanoma by 80%?

Did you know that just five sunburns increases your risk of melanoma by 80%?


“South Africans have the second highest incidence of skin cancer in the world,” says Brink, “So our SunSmart programme involves everything we can possibly do to help people protect themselves from becoming a victim!

“If we succeed, our children and grandchildren won’t have to worry about losing their lives to it. Being SunSmart – and educating people to detect cancer early – can definitely save lives.

“It’s especially important to teach our young ones to be SunSmart so there’ll be far fewer cases of skin cancer in the future. My kids and their friends have taken the message on board – they’ve seen first-hand what skin cancer can do.

“I’m promoting the use of CANSA Seal of Approval sunscreens and UV protective clothing and we’re running regular screening clinics at beaches and sports events to catch early cases.”

While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.