What is melanoma and how can Sunderland support group MelanomaMe help you?

MelanomaMe joint founders Elaine Taylor, left, and Kerry Rafferty.
MelanomaMe joint founders Elaine Taylor, left, and Kerry Rafferty.

Amanda Seymour took the brave step of sharing the story of her battle against melanoma so that others could learn

You can read about the mam-of-two's fight against the illness here.

Below are more details about melanoma and how specialist advice and support is available here in Sunderland.

What is melanoma?

* Melanoma is a form of skin cancer and the fifth most common cancer in the UK;

* Warning signs include an abnormal new mole, moles with more than one colour or an area of skin turning dark;

* Around 13,500 new cases of melanoma are diagnosed each year;

* It is one of the most common cancers in people aged 15 to 34 and is slightly more common in women than men;

* More than 2,000 people die every year in the UK from melanoma;

* Treatment is usually at first by localised surgery. More advanced cases involve chemotherapy;

* There is no cure for malignant melanoma. Treatment in malignant melanoma cases is mainly used to slow the spread of the cancer and reduce symptoms;

* Once you’ve had melanoma, there’s a chance it may return. This risk is increased if your cancer was more advanced or widespread.

* It is, however, one of the more preventable cancers.

* Nearly 90 per cent of cases are said to be avoidable by taking steps such as limiting ultraviolet exposure to both natural sunlight and articificial sources such as tanning beds.

For further information log on to macmillan.org.uk or ring (0808) 8080000.

How can Sunderland support group MelanomaMe help you?

*MelanomaMe is a Sunderland-based advice and support group;

*Based in Hendon, its team of 10 trained staff offer counselling, support and holistic therapy throughout the North East.

*It was founded earlier this year by friends Kerry Rafferty and Ealine Taylor after 39-year-old Kerry fought melanoma in 2015;

*Their work includes presenting advice workshops to leading employers across the region such as HMRC, BT and Barclays.

*They also visit schools to pass on preventative advice;

*It is a non-profit community interest company relying on donations to help provide its free support and counselling;

*Its next major fundraising event is its May ball at Ramside Hall, near Durham City, on Saturday, May 5, next year:

*MelanomaMe is based in teh SES Co-op Centre, in Whitehouse Road, and is open from 9am-5pm from Mondays-Fridays;

*It also offers advice within Washington’s Victoria Road health practice;

*More details can be found via www.melanoma-me.org.uk, by searching MelanomaMe on Facebook and on Twitter via @MelanomaMe17.