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Chuchu N, Takwoingi Y, Dinnes J Smartphone applications for triaging adults with skin lesions that are suspicious for melanoma. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2018; 12

Royal College of General Practitioners. Dermatology. 2019. (accessed 4 June 2019)

Skin cancer: educating the public on signs and symptoms

13 June 2019
Volume 28 · Issue 11

World Melanoma Month to raise awareness is held every year in May, with global partner countries conducting their own outreach and public health initiatives to meet their own unique cultural needs. In the UK, Sun Awareness Week took place in mid-May, but how many BJN readers were aware of these public health campaigns? Did you reflect on how you could incorporate sun awareness and skin cancer prevention in patient education into your daily practice? This is health education for all and not just the domain of dermatology practice.

Melanoma is the fifth most common cancer in the UK, accounting for 4% of all new cancer cases (Cancer Research UK, 2019). There were 15 400 new cases each year in 2013-15—that's 42 every day—and over the past decade rates of melanoma have increased by 50% (Cancer Research UK, 2019). Non-melanoma skin cancer (basal cell, squamous cell and rarer carcinomas) is less likely to metastasise, but still accounts for 950 deaths annually. Survival rates for melanoma are improving due to faster diagnosis and improvements in treatment. Early detection and screening is crucial: for example, prostate cancer has the largest increase in survival, largely due to PSA [prostate specific antigen] testing (Cancer Research UK, 2019). However, the UK, has no national skin cancer screening programmes and the wealth of available information on self-checking needs to be communicated to all our patients.

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