Caroline Chapman and Jo Pope of Sunsafe visited the Isles of Scilly on the 16th July 2013 to run a free drop in mole check clinic. Organised in partnership with Healthwatch Isles of Scilly and the Council, the clinic took place at the Carn Gwaval Wellbeing Centre.
Further to this, and following our support for this activity, Caroline kindly wrote the following report for us:
“After a ridiculously early alarm call, I met with Jo Pope (skin cancer nurse specialist) at Newquay Airport, read to fly to the Isles of Scilly, on a mission to offer local residents a free drop in mole clinic. The Myfanwy Townsend Melanoma Research Fund very kindly funded Jo Pope’s position and without this funding the islands would not have had the clinic!
Why the Isles of Scilly you ask? Four main reasons:
• The Isles have a high proportion of fair skinned people
• Many people working outdoors
• High UV
• The islands are surrounded by sandy coastline
Although this sounds like heaven, to live there you MUST look after your skin and be aware of the dangers of the sun. Due to the factors above, the South West has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the UK. After a short flight, we landed at St Mary’s in thick sea mist and headed straight to the centre. At 8:35am there were already a few people waiting to be checked, so we quickly set up and the first checks began at 8:45am.
Was it Worth It?
Yes! Malignant melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer and the numbers have been rising faster than any other common cancer with almost a third of all cases occurring in the under 50’s.During the day, a total of 46 people were checked and advice and information about skin cancer early diagnosis and prevention was given. We diagnosed 2 malignant melanomas, 4 Basal Cell Carcinomas, 2 dysplastic naevus and a few people have been referred to dermatology for further investigation.
The day was a huge success and has hopefully paved the way for further activity. The sea mist had cleared by early morning and this revealed the true strength of the sun on the Island. Jo and I returned to the mainland that evening exhausted but satisfied that a few more people were aware of the dangers of the sun and how and why to prevent melanoma.
Footnote: Well done Caroline and Jo, mission completed and hopefully more to come. As with all health issues, early detection of problems is the best bet, so if you have any moles that you are concerned about, visit your GP today.