HEALTH MAT­TERS

Macclesfield Express - - MACCLESFIELD PEOPLE -

●● WITH Dr Paul Bowen, a GP with McIlvride Med­i­cal Prac­tice, Poyn­ton, and ex­ec­u­tive chair of NHS Eastern Cheshire Clin­i­cal Com­mis­sion­ing Group (CCG). A RE­CENT sur­vey found that UK tan­ning sa­lons have seen an 80 per cent in­crease in busi­ness due to men us­ing sunbeds in an at­tempt to achieve the ‘Joey Es­sex look’, spark­ing fears that we could see an in­crease in male skin can­cer.

There is no doubt that skin can­cer is on the rise in eastern Cheshire - in fact the num­ber of peo­ple con­tract­ing the con­di­tion has more than dou­bled in the past five years.

In 2010 74 men were di­ag­nosed with skin can­cer in eastern Cheshire, which in­creased to 149 cases in 2014 and reached 57 so far this year.

Although these num­bers may seem small, there is no room for com­pla­cency, as skin can­cer is one of our fastest in­creas­ing can­cer types, across all age groups

Skin can­cer is more com­mon among the over-50s and is ac­tu­ally more preva­lent in older men than older women in eastern Cheshire.

Skin can­cers de­velop due to skin dam­age from ul­tra­vi­o­let light both from sun­shine in the UK and es­pe­cially abroad when we take those much­needed weeks away in the sum­mer.

It’s im­por­tant to re­mem­ber that sun­burn is skin dam­age.

Dam­age is cu­mu­la­tive through life and it’s im­por­tant to pro­tect chil­dren.

The term ‘skin can­cer’ refers to a three main groups of can­cers – the most se­ri­ous of which is melanoma.

Melanoma can de­velop as a mole on the skin which grows and de­vel­ops ir­reg­u­lar or asym­met­ric shape, colour or in­flam­ma­tion.

Non-melanoma skin can­cers can de­velop as a patch, lump or ul­cer in the skin, which can take weeks or even years, and can be more or less se­ri­ous.

These can be a va­ri­ety of colours, from red to white, and some­times scaly.

Many harm­less skin growths can also de­velop in the same way.

See your GP if you have any skin ab­nor­mal­ity that hasn’t healed af­ter four weeks.

Although it is un­likely to be skin can­cer, it is best to be sure.

Pre­ven­ta­tive steps can be taken against skin can­cer, in­clud­ing the avoid­ance of sunbeds and sun­lamps.

Be­ing sun aware is also very im­por­tant, so ap­ply a high fac­tor sun cream regularly, dress sen­si­bly dur­ing hot weather – shirt and hat - and limit the time you spend in the sun dur­ing the hottest part of the day.

Also en­sure that you regularly check moles and look for new ones de­vel­op­ing.

Moles de­velop less of­ten as you get older and are un­usual af­ter the age of 40.

For more in­for­ma­tion, on skin can­cer, visit nhs. uk/Con­di­tions/Can­cer-ofthe-skin/Pages/ Preven­tion.aspx.

●● Dr Paul Bowen

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