Wednesday, 1 May 2019

IT’S TIME TO TAKE SKIN CANCER SERIOUSLY


Skcin launch hard-hitting campaign for Skin Cancer Awareness Month


Throughout Skin Cancer Awareness Month (May) national skin cancer awareness charity, Skcin will be sharing daily facts, advice and the battle scars of brave melanoma and skin cancer patients in a bid to get the ‘skinderella’ of all cancers taken more seriously by the public, by schools, by employers, by industry and by government - by highlighting the importance of prevention and early detection to save lives.

According to Cancer Research UK, 1 in 36 UK males and 1 in 47 UK females will be diagnosed with melanoma (the deadliest form of skin cancer) during their lifetime. In addition over 210,000 cases of non-melanoma skin cancers are diagnosed annually in the UK making it the most common cancer by far. As rates of the disease continue to soar, Skcin are urging pre-schools, primary schools, employers, the beauty industry, healthcare practitioners and government to ‘GET WITH THE PROGRAMME’ as they can all play vital roles in combating the disease.

Creative Director of Skcin, Kathryn Clifford says “After losing my mum to this devastating disease in 2005, I have dedicated the last 13 years of my life to prevention and early detection. Why? With 86% of skin cancers preventable and it being the only cancer we can physically see developing, shouldn’t we all know how to protect ourselves and how to spot the early signs and symptoms? It’s not rocket science, it’s common sense and not enough is being done by government to invest in the future of our nations health.

The brave patients who know all too well the devastation this disease can cause, have shared their images and stories with us to support us in our vital messaging and we couldn’t be more grateful. People tend to think that skin cancer is ‘only skin cancer’ surely it can be cut-out and that’s that. But the reality of living with melanoma is hell.

Like smoking, skin cancer is a lifestyle cancer and we are in charge of not just our own destiny, but more importantly the destiny of our future generations. That’s why we wanted to create a hard-hitting campaign that visually mimics the governments intervention regarding the dangers of smoking in the hope that we can create the required impact to influence behaviours and encourage action”.

The campaign is backed up by a comprehensive range of resources that Skcin have developed over their 13 years of dedicated work on the prevention and early detection of this dreaded disease. Pioneers of educational intervention in this field, Skcin have designed and operate a wide range of nationally accessible and measurable educational programmes that target key ‘at risk’ and ‘influential’ sectors. Working with pre-schools, primary schools, employers of outdoor workers, the hair, health and beauty industry as well as medical and healthcare practitioners, Skcin provide ‘the blue sky thinking’ recently called for in parliament when it comes to prevention and are doing vital work on a national scale to combat the soaring rates of both melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer in the UK.

The campaign is supported by Chris Bryant Member of Parliament for the Rhondda who had surgery to remove a stage three melanoma earlier this year, he said: “Skin cancer is on the rise and it can kill. The good news is that in most cases if it is caught early it can be treated very successfully. But prevention is even better than treatment, so the government should start a major national campaign to get people to cover up in the sun and use factor 50 sun cream. And as for any strange looking skin growths, if in doubt, check it out.”

The hard-hitting campaign messaging will also be used in various settings to generate impact and influence behaviours within notoriously hard-to-engage categories. Outdoor workers are one such category and having worked in this arena for the last 6 years with a dedicated programme for employers, Skcin know all too well that the likes of builders and construction workers or employees within any predominantly male environment are less likely to take the dangers of UV exposure seriously and take the necessary steps to protect their skin, let alone check their skin for change and visit their GP if they spot something suspicious.

As such Skcin have partnered engineering enterprise Laing O’Rourke this May to promote this hard-hitting messaging in a bid to influence their outdoor workers into taking action. “At Laing O’Rourke, we take health and wellbeing seriously. We are always looking for ways to raise awareness and educate our people against key health risks to ensure the wellbeing of our workers,” said Silvana Martin, Health and Wellbeing Leader at Laing O’Rourke. “Communicating the importance of sun protection is key strategy that we are paying particular close attention, to help tackle the rising incidences of occupational skin cancer. Skcin’s campaign is hard hitting to engage people to think again while outdoor during the Summer. The key messages we want to get across are; apply sun cream and cover up. We also want to promote the universal five S’s of sun safety advice which is covered comprehensively in all Skcin’s educational resources and material on their website.’’

Skcin are also working with Homewood School and Sixth form Centre, Tenterden and Liverpool John Moores University to deliver educational intervention and behavioural research in which the campaign messaging will be used to engage teenagers in a bid to create impact and evoke cultural shift in attitudes towards the importance of sun safety.

Marie Tudor, CEO of Skcin added “We pride ourselves on our creative abilities to generate engagement, but it’s not always easy! The problem is, we are trying to tell people that the one thing we all love, enjoy, can’t avoid and to some degree is actually good for us, can kill us!

It’s no simple task - different people of different ages, working within different professions require very different approaches, so there’s ‘no one-size-fits-all’ campaign, programme or supportive resource - that’s why we operate a suite of bespoke accreditation programmes and the reason why we have developed such a comprehensive bank of supportive resources.

This campaign is very much about generating an impact that will hopefully make people think twice about the severity of skin cancer and the consequences our decisions regarding sun safety can have. It’s also a nod to government with whom are equally difficult to engage with on the matter, despite our best efforts and the offer of robust, quality and measurable solutions to help them improve the nations health and mitigate future costs for the NHS”.

Now is the time to take action - pre-schools, primary schools and employers of outdoor workers all have a duty of care to ensure they implement a robust sun safety policy and educate their employees and our future generations on the prevention and early detection of skin cancer. Schools and workplaces can ‘get with the programme’ by accessing the comprehensive free accreditation programmes and resources available at:

sunsafenurseries.co.uk
sunsafeschools.co.uk
sunsafeworkplaces.co.uk

Hair, Health and Beauty Industry professionals as well as medical and healthcare practitioners can get trained to spot the early signs of skin cancer and advise their clients / patients to take appropriate action by taking part in the MASCED (Melanoma and Skin Cancer Early Detection) training programmes available at: masced.uk

Together, we can make a difference and save lives.

For further information contact Marie Tudor on: 07775 771986 | marie.tudor@skcin.org

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