Consultant dermatologist warns public over lack of skin cancer awareness amid heatwave

A consultant dermatologist says the public needs to be more aware about the risks of skin cancer.

Dr Faisal Ali's warning comes as Wales endures its second day of super heat.

He was speaking to ITV Wales as we focused on the story of one North Wales woman, Christy Brookes-Parry from Prestatyn, after a mole on her inner thigh - she thought was harmless - became cancerous.

Dr Ali said there needs to be much more awareness of the risks.

Dr Faisal Ali is warning people need to be more aware of the risks skin cancer can pose Credit: ITV Wales News

"As well as the pandemic of coronavirus we are almost in a pandemic of skin cancer. So skin cancer is the commonest cancer in the UK and its incidence is going up year on year. 

"In my opinion, as a dermatologist, there needs to be a concerted effort across the board, including the public, politicians as well as the media to really try to tackle skin cancer,  through undertaking some protective behaviour to prevent developing it to begin with, and also educating patients to monitor themselves regularly."Christy says her diagnosis came as a horrible shock: "My melanoma was in a non exposed area on my inner thigh. So I was a bit shocked. I'm not going to lie.

"I did think that it would be okay. I thought it was an ugly mole and I thought it needed to go. But I never in a million years would have thought it would have been one of the deadliest forms of skin cancer. I never, ever imagined. It was the biggest shock of my life.

"If you are bothered about anything, if you think there's something that isn't quite right or you've got a mole, maybe itching or if you think that it doesn't look right, if anything's changing. Go and get it checked. As soon as possible.

"I know it's scary or it can be in an area in where you might feel it's a bit embarrassing but you need to go as quickly as possible. Because time isn't on your side."

Christy had been to Lanzarote the previous August to visit her mother who lives on the island. Over the course of the six-week trip, the mole - which was on the inside of her thigh - grew significantly, despite not being exposed to the sun.

By the end of her stay, it had changed shape and colour. Christy's mother urged her to get it checked.

When the 42-year-old arrived home, she booked an appointment with her GP who sent photographs of the mole to Ysbyty Glan Clwyd. Two days after later, Christy received a call from a dermatologist asking her to come in to the hospital to discuss the results.

For more information about moles and melanomas, including when to seek medical advice, visit the NHS website.