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Melanoma UK gives valuable support to skin cancer sufferers

Living in the UK, with our appalling summers and limited sunshine, you would think that we don’t have too many skin cancer sufferers – well you would be very wrong.  According to Skin Cancer Foundation Statistics, in the last 30 yrs, more people have had skin cancer than all other cancers combined and each year 132,000 melanoma skin cancers occur globally, according to the World Health Organisation.

Melanoma is the most dangerous of the skin cancers and can affect anyone.  Often caused by being over exposed/burned as a child or adult, using sunbeds or working frequently outside.  You are also more likely to be susceptible to skin cancer if you are fair skinned, red haired, light eyed, have freckles or more than 50 moles on your body.

If melanoma is caught in time, it can be removed and in most cases it is not life threatening.  If not caught in time, the cancer can spread into the blood stream below the skin and metastasize quickly to other parts of the body invading major organs and reducing life expectancy considerably.

Signs to look out for include a mole that is:

  • getting bigger
  • changing shape
  • changing colour
  • bleeding or becoming crusty
  • itchy or painful

The ABCDE checklist to help you tell if it’s Melanoma or not:

  • Asymmetrical – melanomas have two very different halves and are an irregular shape.
  • Border – melanomas have a notched or ragged border.
  • Colours – melanomas will be a mix of two or more colours.
  • Diameter – melanomas are often larger than 6mm (1/4 inch) in diameter.

Enlargement or elevation – a mole that changes size over time is more likely to be a melanoma.

Exposure from sunbeds has led to a number of people getting melanoma and also in some cases, doctors are misdiagnosing skin cancers.  More and more young people (under 50) are being affected by melanoma and there are charities including Melanoma UK which has been set up specifically to provide support to patients throughout all the stages of their disease and help fundraise for much needed resources such as providing specialist melanoma nurses and essential research.

Paula Bridge, a Clinical Negligence consultant at Thorneycroft Solicitors, can help patients who have been misdiagnosed or who haven’t received the right and timely treatment from medical staff.  Paula can also advise people who are struggling with their employers.  Melanoma is a very aggressive cancer and patients need time off work for treatment so it’s important to get sensitive and sound legal advice so that stress is minimised and an agreement is reached.

If you are interested in finding out more about what the charity is up to, Paula is also a Trustee for Melanoma UK and will be doing a presentation on Monday the 9th November at the Royal Marsden hospital with James Larkin, the lead oncologist.  If you would like more information about Melanoma UK then please call freephone number 0808 171 2455 or Paula Bridge at Thorneycroft Solicitors on 01625 503444.

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