Torbay Council’s Public Health Team is backing a new campaign launched on 16 June in Devon, Cornwall and Somerset aims to raise awareness of skin cancer by being alert to changes in your skin in addition to changes moles.

The number of new cases of skin cancer diagnosed in Devon, Cornwall and Somerset, given the size of the population, is double the England average. There were over 800 new cases of melanoma diagnosed in Devon, Cornwall and Somerset in 2012.

The campaign, from Public Health England (PHE), is the latest to launch under the Be Clear on Cancer banner. Local GPs appear in the adverts. To run alongside PHE’s campaign, Torbay’s Public Health Team is also running a local campaign to highlight that you can develop skin cancer undertaking a range of outdoor activities.

Posters have been produced to reflect this and depict someone working in the garden with their back uncovered, another with a bare arm while working outside and a cyclist with their face exposed. The key message is if you are not wearing sun protection while you are outside you are exposed and you increase your chances of developing skin cancer.

Caroline Dimond, Interim Director of Public Health, said: “If you notice any persistent or unusual changes to your skin, particularly moles, go and see your doctor. Get loved ones, friend and family members to check areas where you are unable to see or reach such as your back. If detected early on skin cancer is very treatable.

Cllr Chris Lewis, Executive Lead for Health and Well Being, said: “Statistics show that those living in the Devon, Cornwall and Somerset area are at an increased risk of developing skin cancer compared to the rest of England.

“There could be any number of reasons for this but it’s likely to be due to a high number of outdoor jobs and leisure pursuits as well as an older population. We are committed to raising awareness of the key signs of the disease, to encourage earlier diagnosis, when treatment is more likely to be successful.”

Spotting skin cancer early

  • A new growth or sore that won’t heal
  • A spot mole or sore that itches or hurts
  • A mole or growth that bleeds, crusts or scabs

You’re more likely to get it if you have:

  • Lots of moles or freckles
  • Fair skin that burns easily
  • Red or fair hair
  • Light coloured eyes
  • History of sunburn
  • Personal/family history of skin cancer

For more information on the signs of skin cancer, visit

Statistics provided by Public Health England, South West Knowledge & Intelligence Team (South West) May 2014.

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