Being fair skinned and someone who has had moles/bumps removed, I do try to keep an eye on my skin. In the UK there isn’t the awareness about skin cancer nor moles going ‘funny’ as there is in Australia.
I remember when I lived there it was just part of ‘life’, nipping annually into the cancer care clinic. You’d strip off down to your undies and stand on a little podium. Then a dermatologist would then peer and peek at your every inch with a magnifying glass. They picked up a ‘wrong-un’ whilst at this clinic and I was booked in and it removed within days.
Everyone went along and it only took 10 minutes of your time. You could do it in your lunchtime. Medicare covered it so you didn’t worry about the cost.
What was slightly disturbing about it though, was that every single dermatologist that saw me over the years was British. They had chosen this speciality and said that there weren’t jobs in the UK or a proactive role in picking up skin irregularities early. Skin cancer is one of the most common cances in the UK with the numbers on the increase. As with all cancers there is an importance upon early detection, yet we don’t promote it?
Cancer Research UK have some great information “SunSmart”
I’ve recently noticed that the ‘scar’ where a suspicious lump was previously removed has been getting bigger. There are also (and have been for quite some time) several moles that are a bit itchy. So I overheard that my GP surgery has a skin care clinic once a month and I’ve booked myself in.
Today’s the day. I put my bestest undies on and figured that it’d be similar to the one in Oz whereby my whole bod (including the areas that I can’t see myself – ie my back!) would be inspected. However what happened was I was required to tell them which ones itched and show them the new lump only. There wasn’t an examination of other moles nor an offer to do so. This was also done by my regular GP not a skin specialist. Bless him (and you know I think he’s fabulous), but he’s not a skin specialist. Hey ho, I had the ones I was concerned about looked at anyway and a few little ones frozen off.
What I would love to see (and I’ve suggested it) is that Macmillan Cancer, who have a business alliance with Boots The Chemist, take charge and put a project in place. Through the Boots alliance they have access to virtually every high street in the country.
How about a campaign whereby canvas portakabins are erected in stores. They just need to be big enough for someone upon a step to be examined by a skin specialist. There could be a ‘roadshow’ of specialists travelling the country, checking skin and referring as necessary. Surely Boots could sponsor it? I’m sure most people would buy a sandwich or do a little shopping whilst they were in the store. People could pop in during their lunch breaks or nip out in the afternoon.
What would that cost in real terms? And then, balance it with the cost saving to the NHS by picking up suspicious skin problems early?