Businesses back Sunderland skin cancer campaign to 'fake it not bake it'

Tan worshippers are urged to "fake it not bake it" as part of a new campaign against skin cancer.

By Gavin Ledwith, Digital Specialist
Monday, 04 March, 2019, 11:13

Sunderland counselling service MelanomaMe is working with a host of businesses in the area to educate people about both the illness's warning signs and the dangers of sun beds and sunbathing.

Ultraviolet light is the main cause of melanoma skin cancer with tan seekers encouraged instead to have spray tans.

Spray tan businesses in the area are among those supporting MelanomaMe's campaign, which in itself is part of larger national initiatives, and are donating a percentage of their takings to the service.

Beauty salons, hairdressers and podiatrists, who all work with people's bare skin, are also making similar pledges.

Donations will help MelanomaMe, based in Columbia, Washington, continue its wide programme of work covering individual support, awareness sessions and holistic therapies.

MelanomaMe's trained counsellors are in return training the businesses to look out for potential dangers on customers such as two-tone blemishes.

MelanomaMe founders Kerry Rafferty, left, and Elaine Taylor.

Co-founder Kerry Rafferty, who fought skin cancer herself, said: "With the good weather not far off, it's all about getting skin cancer talked about and we are grateful to everyone who has joined up so far."

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Melanoma is the fifth most common cancer in the UK with around 13,500 new diagnoses each year. More than a quarter of cases involve people under 50,

Joanne Wright, the owner of Powder Rooms, in Concord, Washington, which is supporting the campaign, said: “It is my mission to stop people from using sunbeds as we have had lots of our clients coming through the door with skin cancer. It really is a young person’s disease.

"My team are undergoing MelanomaMe training to help us to be able to identify melanomas on clients.

"This is really important for therapists as we see parts of the body that people can’t see for themselves and we probably see more skin on a person than their partners."

The salons and experts who are so far offering at least £1 per certain booking to MelanomaMe are Sisters, in Newcastle, Lookswell, in Chester-le-Street, Powder Rooms, in Washington, Montana Spa, at the George Washington Hotel, Washington, Polished and Preened, in Shiney Row, Mobile Foot clinic, in Sunderland, podiatrist Debra Darke, from Sunderland, Flawless Till Dawn, in Washington, Fake It, in Washington, and Fresh Face, in Guisborough,

Anyone wanting to join the May fundraising campaign, or wanting further information about MelanomaMe's work, can contact the service on (0191) 4174500 or log on to