Free advice on skin cancer

People in Norfolk and Suffolk can learn more about whether they are at risk of skin cancer during an awareness-raising campaign this month.

People in Norfolk and Suffolk can learn more about whether they are at risk of skin cancer during an awareness-raising campaign this month.

There will be free events in Norwich and Ipswich to give advice about whether changes in people's skin need to be checked out further. The events at the Forum will feature Pixie McKenna from Channel Four's Embarrassing Bodies, GP Rob Hicks, who works for the BBC and as a presenter on the History Channel, and Inma Mauri-Sole, a dermatologist who has run skin cancer events at the Glastonbury festival. There will also be nurses and other medical staff on hand to give advice.

The campaign is being run by the national skin cancer charity Skcin, which is the Karen Clifford skin cancer charity. It is targeting East Anglia because of its beaches and Broads, meaning that people are more likely to spend time outside in the sun, as well as the large numbers of agricultural workers. Repeated sunburn can contribute to an increased risk of skin cancer in later life.

There are also free education sessions for GPs, nurses and pharmacists, giving them information about how to identify skin cancers. The Norwich event is at Dunston Hall on Thursday, with George Millington from the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. There are other events for professionals in Yarmouth on June 16 and King's Lynn on June 17, as well as Newmarket and Ipswich.

Skcin spokesman Richard Clifford said: 'This campaign is about reinforcing the 'safe sun' message, but also encouraging the vast numbers of people for whom the damage may already have been done to be more 'skin aware' - to take note of changes in their skin or the appearance of strange lesions and seek appropriate advice promptly.'

Dr Hicks said: 'Sun-damage accumulates over time and it is the result of a lifetime of sun exposure, rather than a recent incident of sun burn. For people who enjoyed the sun in their youth or who regularly work outside, it is this accumulation of sun exposure coupled with possible incidents of burning, which puts them at an increased risk of developing skin lesions known as solar keratosis, or in more serious cases, skin cancers known as basal cell carcinomas or squamous cell carcinomas.'

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Solar keratosis is the most common skin condition that occurs as a result of sun damage and can occasionally be an early indicator of a more serious skin cancer. It causes crusty or scaly bumps to appear on the skin which can vary in size and colour but often feel dry and rough.

The walk-in sessions at the Forum, which are free to attend, will be held between 10am to 4pm at the Forum from Monday, June 22 to Wednesday, June 24.

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