Cornwall colleges get skin cancer warning advice

Students and staff on college campuses in Cornwall are being offered on-the-spot skin tests to alert them to the risks of too much sunshine.

The county has nearly twice the English average of malignant melanoma cases.

The Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Primary Care Trust (PCT) is sending suncare teams to talk to young people about sunbathing habits.

The initiative was to help people do more to protect themselves from unsafe levels of UV light, the trust said.

Cornwall had 31 cases of malignant melanoma per 100,000 people between 2006 and 2008, the South West Public Health Observatory (SWPHO) said.

During that period, the average in England was 15.6 cases.

The county's outdoor lifestyle and an older population are believed to contribute to the statistic.

Many people with the condition now were exposed to too much strong sunlight when they were young, the PCT said.

The suncare teams said work they had carried out so far had been a real eye-opener for many students who had not appreciated that damage could be caused to skin so early in life.

Students could opt to have a simple on-the-spot scan which, along with a questionnaire, helped health workers identify if they were putting themselves at risk, the teams said.

College staff have also been volunteering for the skin scans.

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