Scilly Needs Better Awareness Of Skin Cancer Says Expert

St Mary's Hospital

More work needs to be done to warn islanders about the risk of skin cancer and what to look out for.

That’s the view of Caroline Chapman who organised Tuesday’s ‘Sunsafe’ clinic at the Carn Gwaval Health and Wellbeing Centre. During the session, a mainland-based dermatologist checked moles that were causing people concern.

Around forty people turned up during the full-day clinic, which was paid for by the Myfanwy Townsend Melanoma Research fund and Caroline says some of those have been referred for further investigation.

The charity stepped in after the Council and NHS said they couldn’t afford to run the clinic here in Scilly.

Caroline says people told her the last mole-check clinic was around 6-years ago and she felt this one was long over due.

But she stressed that the local GPs are trained in what to look out for and people should see them immediately if they’re concerned, rather than wait for a clinic to get their moles checked.

Melanoma is very treatable if caught within the first year, but it spreads quickly.

Caroline was surprised by the lack of awareness about skin cancer here on the islands, especially as the region has the highest incidence of melanoma in the UK, and she wants to work with our local Healthwatch group to get the message out.

She says money is spent on advertising and educating young people in Cornwall, but that doesn’t seem to have filtered through to Scilly.

Scilly’s Lead GP, John Garman, says he wants diagnosis of skin cancer to become easier and reduce the need for patients to travel to get their moles checked.

Just yesterday, the St Mary’s Hospital League of Friends agreed to buy a dermatoscope, which attaches to an iPhone and takes digital photos of moles that can be sent to specialists on the mainland.

He said it should be here in a couple of weeks.

Be he urged anyone who is concerned about moles, particularly any that have changed in shape or colour, to make an appointment to see a GP at the Health Centre as the earlier it’s diagnosed, the better the outcome.