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21 June 2010, 11:56 | Updated: 22 June 2010, 12:54
Southampton's West Quay is hosting a 'Skin Check' Pod and offering local people the chance to come and get their skin checked for the early signs of sun damage.
Local GPs as well as Channel 4's 'Embarrassing Bodies' Dr Pixie and Dr Dawn will be on hand to offer free, one-to-one skin checks, advice and information about sun damaged skin.
The 'Skin Check' Pod will be on the lower level of WestQuay Shopping Centre from 10am - 4pm on Tuesday 22nd June.
Skin Awareness Week is organised by skin cancer charity, the Myfanwy Townsend Melanoma Research Fund. The two-day event in Southampton is predominantly aimed at those over the age of 45 who may have a history of over-exposure to the sun or repeated incidents of sunburn.
Charity founder, Harry Townsend, explains: "Sun damage accumulates over time; it is a lifetime of sun exposure, rather than recent sunbathing that adds to your risk. 30 years ago, sun awareness campaigns did not exist, as a result, a large percentage of those aged 45+ now have signs of sun damage and are susceptible to skin conditions such as skin cancer.
"This campaign is about reinforcing the 'safe sun' message, but also encouraging the vast numbers of people for whom the damage may have already been done to be more 'skin aware'. Rates of skin cancer have doubled in the last 15 years and so we're urging people to take note of changes in their skin, or the appearance of strange lesions, and seek advice before any marks develop into skin cancer."
Solar keratosis is the most common skin condition that occurs as a result of sun-damage and in a few cases, can be an early indicator of a more serious skin cancer.
It is caused either by years of over exposure to the sun or repeated incidents of sunburn and appears in the form of crusty or scabby bumps (lesions) – often on the face, hands or, if you are bald, the scalp.
Recent research shows that 18 per cent of Southampton residents have concerns about sun damage to their skin, but 45 per cent admit they wouldn't seek a doctor's opinion within a week of noticing skin damage. Furthermore, 48 per cent of people in Southampton know someone close to them who has suffered sun damage but yet a worrying half of those surveyed admit to not protecting their skin from sun damage in their everyday lives.
Southampton's Public Health Director Dr Andrew Mortimore said: "We are very fortunate to have many reasons to spend time outside in the Southampton area with so many parks and good access to local beaches. However it's important that people who spend a lot of time outdoors are sun safe and skin aware, checking for signs of sun damage and getting any changes checked by their GP."
For more information about sun damaged skin visit www.sundamagedskin.co.uk and for more information about the Myfanwy Townsend Melanoma Research Fund click here