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Wales Macmillan skin cancer nurse urges Sun Awareness this May

With summer just around the corner, a Macmillan skin cancer nurse from south Wales is backing the British Association of Dermatologist’s Sun Awareness Week (4-10 May 2015) by urging people to stay safe in the sun.

 

The number of people developing melanoma is continuing to rise, with around 110,330 people living with malignant melanoma in the UK, and over 700 people diagnosed every year in Wales.  It is the fifth most commonly diagnosed cancer in the UK, and slightly more common in women than in men. Whilst one of the most common cancers in people aged 15–34 although like most cancers, it is more common in older people.

 

Sharon Hulley, Macmillan skin cancer nurse based at University Hospital of Wales explains;

 

“Most melanomas are linked to over exposure to UV rays from the sun or a sunbed. 

 

“Just one episode of painful sunburn every two years can triple your risk of getting melanoma. I would urge everyone to ‘get to know their skin’.

 

“I would recommend that everyone check their skin on a monthly basis to get to know where their moles or freckles are, and to get someone else to check the areas they can’t see such as the back, bottom and back of legs. It’s only when you know what they usually look like that you would know if any were changing or new.

 

“About half of all melanomas start with a change in previously normal-looking skin. This usually looks like a dark area or an abnormal new mole. Other melanomas develop from a mole or freckle that you already have - maybe a mole that changes colour, bleeds, itches or is painful. If you are worried about any changes on your skin you should visit your GP.”

 

Sharon continued; “Skin cancer, if caught early, is very treatable and actually has one of the highest survival rates of all cancers and being sun aware is key. Our advice is to avoid sun beds, wear a high SPF sun screen with a four star rating or more so it will block out UVA as well as UVB rays, and cover up in the sun.”

 

Macmillan Cancer Support advises to visit your doctor straight away if you have:

·         any unusual marks on the skin that last for more than a few weeks

·         a mole that tingles or itches

·         crusting or bleeding of a mole

·         something growing under a nail or a new dark-coloured stripe along part of the nail.

 

If you have questions about skin cancer, or are worried about your symptoms, call Macmillan on 0800 808 00 00 or visit www.macmillan.org.uk.