The Myfanwy Townsend Melanoma Research Fund

Tackling Rising Rates of Melanoma

A new survey reveals that although sunburn can triple the chance of melanoma, kids are still seeing red.


Last week, the Sainsbury’s 2015 School Games in Manchester saw 1,600 of the UK’s top young athletes come together and celebrate their sporting talents. This fantastic event was the perfect platform for Michelle Baker from the Myfanwy Townsend Melanoma Research Fund to promote the Outdoor Kids Sun Safety Code, an initiative that encourages kids to get outdoors, but stay sun protected.

 Sunburn is Still Winning

116During the four- day event, the charity surveyed nearly 900 young competitors, volunteers and spectators, ranging from age 6 to 18 and reveals that although an encouraging 90% understood that sunburn is dangerous, only 2% had heard of melanoma; the most dangerous and fastest growing type of skin cancer. With many joking that the sun was ‘hardly hot enough this year to do damage’, over 48% of kids admitted to having sunburn at least once this summer.

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15/07/14 Pic Credit: Sam Friedrich/ tel: +44 7977 482 272 MPs with Melanoma taskforce members at the launch of the 2020 Skin Cancer Visions report at Portcullis House, Westminster. Nick Thomas MP and Michelle Baker
Nick Thomas-Symonds MP with Michelle Baker at the launch of the 2020 Skin Cancer Visions report at Portcullis House, Westminster.

Michelle Baker from the Myfanwy Townsend Melanoma Research Fund was delighted to attend the launch of the 2020 Skin Cancer Visions on Wednesday 15th July in the House of Commons.

The 2020 Skin Cancer Visions is a new manifesto from the Melanoma Taskforce which sets out how skin cancer care and services should evolve over the next five years to provide the best results for patients. The Myfanwy Townsend Melanoma Research Fund was able to speak to many MPs and raise awareness of the pressing need to improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of skin cancer.

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We would like to thank Jill and David Kitching for their fantastic efforts! They have have just completed an amazing challenge which saw them cycling from Wombwell in Yorksire to Kandersteg  in Switzerland, with the aim of raising funds for melanoma.

Family Inspiration

The challenge was inspired by David’s father Terry, who following his demob in 1953 was hungry for some adventure and wanted to explore Europe. As a Scouter and member of a mountain rescue team, he was well prepared to be self sufficient. Not having a car he set off from Wombwell, South Yorkshire, on his bike.

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Different Race childrenA national survey by the Outdoor Kids Sun Safety Code, investigating the provision of sun protection for children who attend outdoor activities, reveals habits still need to change.

Sunburn is dangerous. Just one incidence every two years can triple the risk of melanoma. Despite this, a quarter of those who work outdoors with children admit to a child having sunburn whilst in their care, and a worrying 40% of children still turn up to outdoor sessions without any sun protection whatsoever. Over 60% of those surveyed also admitted to hearing young children discussing ‘getting a tan’.

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PrintIt seems like the younger generations of today are invariably lost in a world of technology and getting them away from their screens can be a battle. However getting kids playing outdoors in the sunshine is vital to the development of everyday life skills and their overall health and well being.

With the pressure of getting them out there playing for a day in an organised activity, unfortunately many forget the importance of protecting them from the sun. Although good for us in small doses, the danger comes from unprotected, prolonged exposure to the sun and the incidence of sunburn.

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By Dr Yella Martin

March 2015

Patient recruitment is now finished and experiments are underway…

Scientists at the Blond McIndoe Research Foundation hope to identify a new set of biomarkers which will be indicative of progression to metastatic melanoma. For their research, the scientists are looking at small RNA molecules in the blood (microRNAs) with the aim of developing a clinical test for patients.

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