Melanoma Awareness Month: Do you #KnowYourSkin?

People living in Lancashire and South Cumbria are urged to #KnowYourSkin during Melanoma Awareness Month.

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the UK and the number of people diagnosed with the condition has risen steeply since the 1970s. Men in particular are at risk of developing melanoma skin cancer, with one in 36 diagnosed in their lifetime compared to one in 47 women.    

And with May being Melanoma Awareness Month, Dr Neil Smith, local GP and cancer director for Lancashire and South Cumbria, wants everyone to regularly check the appearance of their skin as we head into the warmer months.

Dr Smith said: “Common signs to look out for include a sore, lump, spot or an area of skin that doesn’t heal within four weeks, or that looks unusual, hurts, itches, bleeds, crusts or scabs.

“If you notice anything unusual for you, or you have concerns about possible signs and symptoms of cancer, you should speak to your GP. It is probably nothing serious, but it is important to get checked out because early diagnosis makes cancer more treatable.”

Dr Smith highlighted the need for people working outdoors to take extra care to protect themselves against the sun.

He added: “UV rays are at their highest between May and September. These months are the time of highest risk when people can burn even on cool days. You cannot feel UV radiation, so it is very easy to get sunburned in the UK, even when it is not particularly warm.

“But sunburn causes skin cancer so it is important people take more care, especially those who work outside. They need to use factor 30 sunscreen or higher with good UV-A protection and apply it generously on all exposed skin.”

People with fair skin, moles, freckles, red or fair hair, or light-coloured eyes are the most susceptible to skin cancer. The advice for everyone, including outdoor workers is:

  • Stay in the shade wherever possible.
  • Make sure you do not burn.
  • Protect yourself by wearing suitable clothing, such as a hat if possible.
  • Wear sunglasses and factor 30 sunscreen or higher.
  • Re-apply your sunscreen every few hours.

Dr Smith has produced a video which highlights the signs and symptoms of malignant melanoma cancer which can be viewed at https://tinyurl.com/mpjm6ck4

More information is available from www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/skin-cancer