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

Cameron Quigley outside MelanomaMe's Washington offices.
Cameron Quigley outside MelanomaMe's Washington offices.
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Skin cancer battler Cameron Quigley was shocked to discover he had contracted melanoma at the age of just 21.

He has told how a "bad haircut" may have saved his life as the shorter than normal trim uncovered a cancerous blemish.

Below are more details about the illness and the specialist advice and support 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 Ultra Violet (UV) exposure to both natural sunlight and artificial sources such as tanning beds;

Also read: "Don't dice with death by using sunbeds" - says Sunderland skin cancer support group

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

*It was founded last year by friends Kerry Rafferty and Elaine Taylor after 40-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 as dangers from natural Ultra Violent (UV) light are at their highest from 11am-3pm;

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

*MelanomaMe is based at 15 Lowthian Terrace, Columbia, Washington, NE38 7BA, and can be contacted on (0191) 4174500;

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