AN OLD Town dad treated for skin cancer has backed a hospital campaign to get people to check themselves for signs of the disease.

Stuart Plane was diagnosed with the cancer in 2015, a few months before the birth of his child.

The news, a year after his father had been treated for prostate cancer, came as a complete shock.

“The doctors couldn’t point to any reason for the cancer,” he said.

“They said I might have been sunburnt at two or three-years-old and it takes that long to come out.”

Redhead Stuart, 40, whose skin has always burnt easily, backed calls from Swindon’s Great Western Hospital for people to check their bodies for signs of skin cancer, like moles changing colour.

He said: “My wife noticed that a mole on my leg had changed. I went to the doctors and was referred to Great Western Hospital by the end of the week. I had the mole removed under local anaesthetic and confirmation that it was a malignant melanoma.

“I have always been very careful around the sun, apply plenty of sun cream and generally keep covered up.”

But while he recommended others take precautions to prevent overexposure to the sun’s UV rays, over-worrying would not help: “My consultant said to me at the time: don’t be scared of the sun. I think it’s like anything in life. If you enjoy it, enjoy it in moderation and be body-conscious.”

In Swindon last year, 1,336 patients were diagnosed with skin cancer. 91 were diagnosed with life threatening melanoma.

Speaking in Sun Awareness Week, Tina Phillips, a Macmillan skin cancer clinical nurse specialist at GWH, said: “Most people only think about sun protection when they are on holiday, or when the weather is hot, whereas it should be part of your daily routine- especially if you work outside, as you can get UV damage on a cloudy day.

“Sun screen should be applied at least 20 minutes prior to going outside and the average adult should apply at least a teaspoon of sun screen to each arm, leg, and front and back of body, not forgetting half a tea spoon to the face.

“No matter what the sun screen directions say, sun cream should always be reapplied every two hours.

“People should also check their skin from top to toe, including nails, on a monthly basis and seek medical advice if moles change shape or colour, have an irregular outline, get bigger, start to itch or bleed.”

For more, visit: