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Sun Awareness Week - Anthony

Sun Awareness Week - Anthony

Date of release: 6 May 2021

Latest News: Sun Awareness Week - Anthony Hill

The 3rd-9th May is Sun Awareness Week and we’re speaking to one of our own patients, Anthony Hill, who was diagnosed with a malignant melanoma almost two years ago.

Melonoma is a type of skin cancer which is often caused by too much sun exposure. The first sign is often a new mole or a change in the look of an existing mole. According to NHS UK, melanoma skin cancer is the 5th most common cancer in the UK, with around 16,000 new cases of melanoma are diagnosed each year.

Anthony, who lives in Lower Penn, first noticed the ‘spot’ on his leg after completing a 500-mile charity bike ride in the August of 2019.

He explained: “I had a number of cuts and scratches on the legs after the bike ride, all from pedals, bushes etc., all healed apart from one and on closer inspection seemed different from the others.”

Having been fit and well for the best part, with no serious health concerns, Anthony initially thought nothing of it, but after waking up to find the mole bleeding, he thought best to get it checked out. It was only when his GP then referred him on for an appointment with the Trust’s dermatology team, he knew this was something more sinister.

“After a few appointments with the RWT team, it became clear this was a skin cancer diagnosis,” explained the-74-year old. “It was told it was a melanoma and my first thought was, right, what’s the next step, how do we treat this? I was referred to a specialist at Russells Hall and had it removed in January 2020.”

And after a successful operation, Anthony has since had three-monthly check-ups with Andrea Smith, our Clinical Nurse Specialist for Dermatology.

Andrea said: “At each appointment with Anthony, we have a chat about how he is feeling and if he has any health concerns. I then go on to do a full skin and lymph node examination, looking for any new or changing moles, as well as examining the scar of the previous melanoma looking for any evidence of recurrence. I am pleased to say Anthony is doing really well, he is fully aware of the importance of sun protection and self-examination and does this on a regular basis. He also knows he can contact me or one of the team if he has any concerns at any time in-between appointments.”

When reflecting on what might have led to developing the melanoma, Anthony said: “I used to regularly go on holiday and I would always put on sun cream – however I must admit it probably wasn’t strong enough and I’m not sure whether I’d always top it up after swimming.

“Today I always wear sun cream, even if it’s a cold day, if the sun is out I’ll make sure I’m taking the right precautions,” he said. “Plus I ask my wife to check my back for moles that might look to have grown or changed.”

In terms of advice for others, the kitchen specialist stresses the importance of checking your skin regularly, alongside taking the precautions of sun cream, hats and appropriate clothing.

“You must examine yourself regularly to check for any signs of moles getting bigger or changing in shape. Ask a friend or a family member to check for you – it’s worth getting over the embarrassment when it’s your health. There’s also lots of helpful websites, including the NHS website, and brochures that can tell you what to look for and what might be a concern. This can help guide you on what to do.

“But my biggest advice for anyone who ever does get the news that they have skin cancer or a melanoma is not to panic, because I’ve had come through the other side thanks to the wonderful treatment and care of the teams here at New Cross Hospital and Russells Hall. There are health experts ready to support you through this challenging time.”

A Teaching Trust of the University of Birmingham