Fish­ing and fac­tor 50

Trout-an­gler Dr Frank Con­roy of­fers some es­sen­tial skin-care ad­vice

Trout & Salmon (UK) - - CONTENTS - DR FRANK CON­ROY is a plas­tic, re­con­struc­tive and cos­metic sur­geon work­ing at the Amer­i­can Hos­pi­tal, Dubai.

Trout-fisher Dr Frank Con­roy sends us to the phar­macy

“If a le­sion has sud­denly ap­peared or changed and hasn’t set­tled af­ter 4-6 weeks, seek med­i­cal ad­vice”

WHEN FISH­ING from bank or boat we are ex­posed to the sun and its harm­ful ef­fects. UVA and UVB rays will hap­pily pen­e­trate our pale, freckly, Euro­pean skins and rav­age the build­ing blocks of our ge­netic makeup, po­ten­tially giv­ing rise to the for­ma­tion of skin can­cer. Skin can­cer is an um­brella term that en­com­passes two dis­tinct groups of skin ma­lig­nan­cies: very se­ri­ous ma­lig­nant melanoma and less se­ri­ous non­melanoma. In 2014 (lat­est fig­ures) in the UK, there were 15,000 new cases of ma­lig­nant melanoma re­ported and 131,000 new cases of non-melanoma skin can­cer (thought to be a huge un­der­es­ti­mate).


Ma­lig­nant melanoma has quadru­pled in in­ci­dence over the last 30 years – faster than any other can­cer. In the UK, seven deaths each day oc­cur due to ma­lig­nant melanoma and it is the 17th most com­mon cause of can­cer death. The main risk fac­tor is chronic, in­ter­mit­tent ex­po­sure to high-in­ten­sity sun­light with episodes of sun­burn, a phe­nom­e­non all fly-fish­er­men will have ex­pe­ri­enced. Melanoma can arise from ex­ist­ing moles or from new le­sions and while we all as­sume melanoma ap­pears as a brown, pig­mented spot, it can oc­cur in its ame­lan­otic form con­tain­ing no pig­ment and as such go ig­nored. Melanoma can spread through the lym­phatic sys­tem and ex­ten­sive surgery can be needed if ev­i­dence of metas­ta­sis is found. Vig­i­lance and self-ex­am­i­na­tion are the keys to early de­tec­tion. The Bri­tish As­so­ci­a­tion of Der­ma­tol­o­gists ad­vo­cates the ABCDE method of self-ex­am­i­na­tion of moles:

Asym­me­try: the two halves of the area may dif­fer in shape. Bor­der: edges of the area may be ir­reg­u­lar or blurred, and some­times show notches. Colour: may be un­even. Dif­fer­ent shades of black, brown and pink may be seen. Di­am­e­ter: most melanomas are at least 6mm in di­am­e­ter. Re­port any change in size, shape or di­am­e­ter to your doc­tor. Ex­pert: if in doubt, check it out. If your GP is con­cerned about your skin, make sure you see a con­sul­tant der­ma­tol­o­gist or con­sul­tant plas­tic sur­geon. Your GP can re­fer you via the NHS.


Far more com­mon than melanoma, non­melanoma is thank­fully much eas­ier to treat and mor­tal­ity is low. Basal cell car­ci­noma and squa­mous cell car­ci­noma are the com­mon­est types and while lo­cally in­va­sive, they rarely spread around the body. The devel­op­ment of BCC/SCC is di­rectly at­trib­ut­able to sun ex­po­sure and a re­cent study ex­am­in­ing the in­ci­dence of out­door work­ers developing these skin can­cers showed they face a 43 per cent higher risk of developing BCC and a mas­sive 77 per cent in­creased risk of developing SCC. Pro­fes­sional fish­ing guides should be run­ning to the chemist for sun­screen hav­ing read this. Treat­ment of BCC/SCC is rel­a­tively straight­for­ward, with surgery the main­stay of treat­ment, though if caught early they can be amenable to LASER treat­ment, cryother­apy or even a sim­ple oint­ment.

We all en­joy be­ing out in the sun and need sun­light for the body to make cer­tain vi­ta­mins and I would never sug­gest it should be com­pletely avoided; but it must be re­spected. Reach­ing for sun-cream is of­ten the last thing we think of while spell­bound by the sight of a 3lb wild brownie sip­ping down spent mayfly as our fly fast ap­proaches, how­ever, sim­ple, reg­u­lar ap­pli­ca­tion of a high SPF (greater than 50) wa­ter­proof sun cream, don­ning your favourite hat (prefer­ably wide-brimmed) and po­laroids may prevent an un­pleas­ant visit to your friendly der­ma­tol­o­gist or plas­tic sur­geon.

A ma­lig­nant melanoma: asym­met­ric with an ir­reg­u­lar bor­der and non-uni­form colour.

A clas­sic BCC: note the pearly ap­pear­ance, tiny blood ves­sels run­ning through it and the scabbed cen­tre.

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