‘Stay safe in the sun’, say Hazelwood kids

Hazelwood Integrated Primary School children Mikky Kylesk, Piotr Szlachta, Leah McAleenan and Ciara Morrison show their support for skin cancer prevention with Gerry McElwee from Cancer Focus, Helah Minister Edwin Poots and Dr Eddie Rooney from the Public health Agency INNT 28-606con.

Hazelwood Integrated Primary School children Mikky Kylesk, Piotr Szlachta, Leah McAleenan and Ciara Morrison show their support for skin cancer prevention with Gerry McElwee from Cancer Focus, Helah Minister Edwin Poots and Dr Eddie Rooney from the Public health Agency INNT 28-606con.

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Children from Hazelwood Integrated Primary School joined with Health Minister Edwin Poots to encourage people to take care in the sun.

The children were taking part in an initiative organised by the Public Health Agency (PHA) to highlight the dangers of skin cancer.

The ‘Preventing Skin Cancer – What is Your Role?’ conference, hosted by the PHA in partnership with Cancer Focus Northern Ireland allowed people working in the health, education, outdoor employment, outdoor sport, leisure and beauty sectors to come together to hear about and discuss what is happening in Northern Ireland regarding skin cancer prevention.

The conference also provided the backdrop for the relaunch of the skin cancer prevention website.

Dr Miriam McCarthy, consultant in public health at the PHA, explained: “The number of cases of malignant melanoma, which is the most serious form of skin cancer, in Northern Ireland has almost trebled in the past 25 years, highlighting that action needs to be taken now.

“The conference examined the work that is being carried out to prevent and encourage early detection of skin cancer.

“Those attending the conference heard of initiatives being taken by employers and key developments being progressed by schools to promote skin cancer prevention.

“Also included in the programme was a reflection on the success of the sunbed legislation one year on, as well as a personal account by a local woman on being diagnosed and treated for skin cancer.”

Gerry McElwee, head of cancer prevention for Cancer Focus, said: “We are delighted to be able to launch the new website.

“Our new care in the sun site has been redesigned and provides an excellent source of information, designed to appeal to all ages.

“The site also contains specific information for schools, parents, young people, outdoor workers and others who spend a lot of time outdoors.”

Advice offered to people includes avoiding prolonged exposure to the sun, wearing sun hat, sunglasses and good sun cream at a minimum SPF of 15 with a four star UVA rating.

The PHA is also warning people of the dangers of sunbeds and for people to check themselves regularly for moles.

Health Minister Edwin Poots added: “I would encourage everyone to be aware of changes in their skin and to report any changes to their GP. Early detection can save lives.”

To visit the new website and for more advice go to www.careinthesun.org.