Dr Tony Buckland

Dr Buckland qualified at St Thomas’ Hospital in 1976 and has since practiced as a GP with an interest in minor skin surgery, in Royal Tunbridge Wells. As a keen golfer, he understands the importance of sun protection on the fairway, and how raising awareness of skin cancer is more vital than ever.

My story
As a member of two golf courses; including Nevill Golf Club in Tunbridge Wells, I often see golfers, who are playing their rounds in the sun, without having applied sunscreen. Before playing a golf round and when socialising, I very frequently notice red lesions, particularly on faces and arms, often with dry skin scales (actinic or solar keratosis from sun damage). I also quite regularly notice individual skin tumours, particularly on faces, marks that people over time get used to seeing in the mirror.

All three main skin cancers are on the increase with rates rising faster than ever, so I am delighted to help support the Slip! Slap! Swing! campaign. It is important not only to remind people of all ages about sun protection, but also to encourage them to get to know their skin; checking moles for signs of change, monitoring any new or existing lesions and ensuring they visit their GP if at all worried.

I am kept busy excising basal cell carcinomas (low grade skin malignancies which erode the skin locally) and some squamous cell carcinomas (more serious as can spread to other parts of the body). I also diagnose a few melanomas each year (much more serious as they can spread, and if left too late can be fatal) however, these are dealt with by specialist centre.

Please do think hard about sun protection before starting a golf round or if you are spending the day working on the fairway. Skin cancer is preventable, and a diagnosis is an awful thing to receive, and give, so make sure it isn’t you.

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