SKIN cancer nurse Tina Phillips is urging people in Swindon to stay safe in the sun as the summer holidays get in full swing.
No fewer than 1,165 people were diagnosed with the condition in the town last year, including 122 melanomas, the fifth most common cancer in the UK.
With the number of sufferers set to rise to 3,004 by 2020, the Macmillan nurse at the Great Western Hospital is warning residents to take care of their skin and apply sun screen regularly while out in the sun.
Protection is not just for holidaymakers travelling abroad, as many people still believe, according to Tina.
“People who work outdoors for a living, or fair skinned people who go red or freckle in the sun also need to be particularly vigilant,” said the Macmillan skin care clinical nurse specialist.
“Most melanomas are linked to over exposure to UV rays from the sun or a sunbed.”
While this is the case, and the condition is often associated to sunlight, cancer can develop anywhere, including the mouth, the sole of the foot and other places not directly exposed to the sun.
This is why being able to recognise the tell-tale signs of skin cancer is crucial and will hugely increase patients’ chances of beating the disease.
“Some of the early signs of melanoma may be a mole that changes colour, bleeds, itches or is painful, or the development of a new mole,” said Tina.
“If you are worried about any changes on your skin you should visit your GP.
“Skin cancer, if caught early, is very treatable and actually has one of the highest survival rates of all cancers.
“That’s why being aware of the signs and symptoms is so important, and everyone can help by taking care of their skin.
“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.”
To find out more about the associated risks or signs and symptoms of skin cancer and malignant melanoma, visit the website, which can be found at www.macmillan.org.uk or call Macmillan free on 08088 080000.