Hospital Sunsmart teams take their campaign to the public
Skin specialists from the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital are joining forces with staff from the James Paget University Hospital to raise awareness of skin cancer and warn about the dangers of exposure to the sun.
The “Sunsmart” team will be campaigning in the Forum, Norwich, on 25 and 26 June 2009, at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital Open day on 27 June and at the Royal Norfolk Show on 1 and 2 July.
Their campaign follows the news this week that cases of malignant melanoma – which can spread throughout the body if not treated early – reached 10,400 in the UK 2006, the latest year for which full data is available, and are predicted to top 15,500 by 2024 if current trends continue. In 1993 there were only 5,625 cases.
It is known that skin cancer can result from overexposure to UV rays given off by the sun and sunbeds, especially for those with fair or freckly skin.
However, a survey commissioned by the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS) found that more than a quarter of 18 to 24 year olds say the risk of skin cancer will not make them spend less time sunbathing this summer.
The 'Sunsmart' team will be offering advice on how you can stay safe in the sun, ie:
- Spend time in the shade in the middle of the day,
- Cover up with clothing where possible and wear sunglasses
- Apply sunscreen of at least SPF factor 15 regularly.
The Sunsmart sessions are not designed to be mole clinics but to offer information about skin cancer and advice on sun protection.
Earlier this year the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital became the first hospital in the East of England to offer melanoma patients a more accurate and less invasive test to check whether their cancer has spread.
The test works by using gamma rays to look for the nearest lymph node, or “sentinel node”, which is removed and sent to the hospital laboratory for tests. If the sentinel node is free of cancer, the patient can be reassured that their prognosis is very good. If not, a further operation will be needed to remove other lymph nodes in the area.