Health Experts Take To The Streets To Warn Sunbathers Of Cancer Risk
6:44am 7th August 2014
An initiative to educate people about the danger of skin cancer returns to Dorset during August and September.
The Safer Sun campaign will see a team of experts giving out sunscreen and advice at a number of public events in the county.
Weymouth and Portland has a higher incidence of malignant melanoma than the national average and the team aim to educate people of the dangers of exposure to the sun's rays.
Local GP Dr Karen Kirkham said "One of the benefits of living in such a great part of the country is that a huge number of us enjoy a lifestyle that sees us spending a great deal of time outdoors. Unfortunately, along with the health benefits brings some danger and people should be careful about spending too much time in the sun and should take care of their skin.
The message is simple cover up, stay out of direct sunlight between 11am and 3pm and take on plenty of fluids and slap on plenty of sunscreen.
The team will be at the Weymouth Jubilee Clock on Thursday 7th and 28th August between 2pm and 5pm.
The Melplash Show on Thursday 21st August.
And the Dorset County Show on Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th September.
READ JULIE'S STORY:
In April 2013 Julie Cleaver, President of the Weymouth & Portland Chamber of Commerce was diagnosed with skin cancer - a basal cell carcinoma on the tip of her nose and at this point her world really did turn "About Face".
Under the professional care of Professor Ilankovan of the Wentworth Clinic, Bournemouth, Julie underwent an operation under local anaesthetic leaving Julie with 38 stitches in her nose. The operation was a success.
Julie said "The whole thing started with a small spot on the end of my nose which would not clear up. After a couple of visits to the GP I referred myself to Prof. Ilankovan for diagnosis. It was confirmed that it was a basal cell carcinoma and surgery was required. At this point I was terrified of firstly the cancer diagnosis and then secondly the thought of an operation which potentially could have left me severely disfigured." Julie went on to say " Prof Ilankovan and his team did a fantastic job and I could not thank them enough for catching my cancer early ensuring a complete removal of the cancer, but also for the fantastic work that they do for other people who require major facial reconstruction after cancer surgery. It was at this point that I learnt about "About Face", a Dorset based charity which offers help, advice and support to those who have been diagnosed with cancer of the face, head or neck. I decided to start a campaign to raise money for the charity".
The Weymouth & Portland Chamber of Commerce organised a Summer Soiree at Pennsylvania Castle, Portland on 22nd May for 50 guests, through their generous donations, £235.00 was raised for the About Face Charity. Julie hopes to both raise awareness and funds for the charity for the duration of her presidency which will end in February 2015.
Skin Cancer is on the increase in Dorset and everyone is encouraged to take every opportunity to protect themselves from direct sunlight and use sun screen wherever possible.
About Face encourages people who live in the South or those who are welcome visitors here to enjoy the sun, but to look after themselves and those on their care - particularly young children who cannot be expected to know better. The charity recommends:
AVOID GETTING BURNED and to protect your skin when the sun is at its most intense. Remember to:
- Spend time in the shade between 11am and 3pm
- Wear a T shirt, hat and sunglasses
- Use sunscreen with at least SPF 15 (the higher the better), with good UVA protection (the more stars the better).
Wear a hat with a wide brim for the best protection. Babies and children should always wear wide brimmed hats in the sun. Baseball caps may look good, but they leave the back of your neck and ears completely exposed. Much better is the foreign legion type, with a cloth flap that covers the back of your neck. These are now widely available for babies and young children.
Don't forget to protect your eyes. Wear good quality, wrap around sunglasses. Wraparounds stop the sun from getting in at the sides. Buy these for children too - toy sunglasses can do more harm than good. When choosing sunglasses, look out for
- The CE or British Standard mark (BS EN 1836: 1997)
- A UV 400 label
- A label saying the glasses give 100% UV protection
Ian Catley, the Chief Executive at About Face commented, "I admire Julie's tenacity in adopting our charity during her President's year. Her keenness to raise awareness could save lives. The sun is a welcome presence, but we all need to protect ourselves and those we love from its harmful rays. I wish the Weymouth and Portland Chamber of Commerce a successful year and Julie continued good health as she helps to nurture businesses large and small across the Chamber's region".