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More skin cancer self-detection urged

08 September 2014 09:13

Covering up: but medical experts suggests that holidaymakers should also check for skin changes and abnormalities too

Covering up: but medical experts suggests that holidaymakers should also check for skin changes and abnormalities too

Holidaymakers travelling to warmer climes should be more aware of making skin cancer checks as well as covering up against the sun, experts recommend.

The British Association of Dermatologists (BAD) wants future cancer campaigns to place more emphasis on the importance of DIY checks.

People should visit their doctor as soon as possible if they notice anything unusual or spot sudden skin changes to assist early diagnosis, it says.

The association particularly wants such education targeted at older men. This is the demographic most likely to procrastinate about presenting skin cancer fears to GPs. Such delays can cost lives, BAD says.

It's a good idea for holidaymakers to book pre-existing medical travel insurance.

BAD experts say that melanoma, the most lethal skin cancer, is very visible and easy to recognise when self-monitoring.

Nina Goad, the dermatologists' spokeswoman, says its early detection warning has been reinforced by two new reports unveiled at this week's World Congress on Cancers of the Skin in Edinburgh.

One, examining patients treated at Guy's and St Thomas' hospital in London, has found that melanomas not only bury themselves deeper if ignored, they also thicken too. The other, by Barts Health NHS Trust scientists, found that four-tenths of melanoma patients put off seeing their GP by a minimum of four months after first suspecting they may have one.

Ms Goad says people with skin cancer suspicions should report them as quickly as possible.

BAD has been operating a Be Sun Aware Roadshow for years. It takes a mole-checking advisory service to prominent venues around the country.

Attendees can receive free sun protection tips, sunscreen samples, and get skin cancer detection advice from a dermatologist. The professional will also tell each person which risks are most linked to their skin type and what they should look out for. Any concerning marks will prompt them to issue a form which attendees can take to their GP.