Ireland’s First National Skin Cancer Prevention Plan launched to encourage the public to #ProtectYourSkin.
The Irish Skin Foundation’s new Melanoma Skin Cancer Leaflet, endorsed by the National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP), Healthy Ireland and the Irish Association of Dermatologists (IAD) has been published to coincide with the launch of Ireland’s first National Skin Cancer Prevention Plan earlier this week.
The leaflet has been prepared by the Irish Skin Foundation in consultation with people affected by melanoma, dermatology nurses and consultant dermatologists, and aims to help members of the public to identify changes in their skin which could indicate the presence of a melanoma.
Skin cancer is the most common cancer in Ireland with upwards of 11,000 cases diagnosed each year. If current trends continue, this number is projected to more than double by 2045.
The publication of our leaflet comes as the Minister for Health, Simon Harris TD and Minister of State for Health Promotion, Catherine Byrne TD launched the National Skin Cancer Prevention Plan 2019 – 2022, this week.
This plan follows the Healthy Ireland framework by taking a ‘whole-of-government’, ‘whole-of-system’ approach. A working group was convened by the Department of Health and the NCCP with input from key patient advocacy groups, such as the Irish Skin Foundation, Irish Cancer Society, Marie Keating Foundation, and Breakthrough Cancer Research.
The aims of the plan include increasing awareness and understanding of skin cancer and adoption of skin cancer preventative behaviours nationally over the coming years.
Key findings from a recent skin cancer prevention survey conducted by the NCCP, showed that 50% of adults surveyed experienced sunburn last year and almost one in ten respondents (9%) took no skin protection measures at all.
The Skin Cancer Prevention Plan identified priority groups at risk as: children, outdoor workers, those who participate in outdoor leisure activities and sunbed users.
Skin Cancer is generally classified into two groups (melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer). Each year, over 1000 people are diagnosed with melanoma. This is associated with significant ill-health, is much more likely to spread to other parts of the body and can be fatal.
Non-melanoma skin cancer includes basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. These account for over 10,000 cases of skin cancer each year. This is more common but less aggressive cancer which usually progresses slowly over months or years.