High street clinics fail to spot signs of skin cancer

Added 14/07/2010

Blue sky and clouds

Most people know to protect themselves from the damaging effects of the sun by using sunscreen and seeking shade in the middle of the day. The British summer has already blessed us with several scorching days, so it’s more important than ever to look out for signs of skin cancer.

But in spite of the growing awareness, the number of skin cancer cases continues to rise every year. Over 100,000 cases of non-malignant skin cancer crop up each year, while 10,300 cases of malignant melanomas are reported. As with every form of cancer, catching signs of skin cancer early is the key to successfully treating the condition.

A worrying number of Brits are heading to high street clinics to get their moles checked, but many of the nurses at the clinics are under-qualified. Some people with skin cancer have been turned away with a clean bill of health, while others are being told they have cancer when in fact their moles are perfectly harmless. One patient reported that their scanner had never seen a malignant melanoma before, proving that they had no clue how to diagnose one.

The convenience of high street clinics is appealing, but skin cancer treatment is free on the NHS. Visit your GP if you think you have found signs of skin cancer. They can refer you to a specialist if necessary.

Stay safe in the sun this summer, whether you are at home or abroad. Wear sunscreen and keep out of the sun during the hottest part of the day, usually between 11am and 3pm. Check your moles regularly and if you notice a change, visit your doctor immediately. Don’t be tempted to check into a high street clinic.

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