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Skin cancer patient warns of delayed dangers following sun exposure

Victor Vernier is still being treated for melanomas 16 years after working outdoors as a gardener. He says “It’s simple really, everyone should be sensible and user higher factor sun creams, wear a hat and cover up”.



The lasting effects of over exposure to the sun are being driven home this month, as part of NHS England’s Cover Up, Mate campaign.

It’s a skin cancer prevention initiative, which targets people who work outside, including farmers, gardeners, and men in particular.

Victor Vernier, (MBE) was diagnosed with skin cancer in 2002 after spending years working outdoors, in his role as a gardener. Some 16 years later he is still being treated for melanomas which have been diagnosed across his upper body.

Victor said:

“As a younger man we all wanted to get a sun tan and would often visit the coast or take off our tops when we could to impress the ladies. In the early 1950’s and 60’s there was very little sun-cream so, we used what we could to get the best tan possible, often this was oil with no SPF.

“It seems ridiculous now, but there was no awareness of skin cancer 50 years ago, we had never heard of it. There was no information on keeping an eye on moles or spots that had changed or looked different, that’s changed now.

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“It was only many years later when my GP commented that I had a lot of moles that they did an assessment. I was sent to hospital to see a consultant and came home with around 14 stitches; it was a little bit of a shock.”

Victor has under gone many treatments and is always checking his skin with support of his family to ensure there’s no change.

He added:

“If I’d known then the harm the sun causes I would have done as much as I could to ensure I protected my skin. It’s simple really, everyone should be sensible and user higher factor sun creams, wear a hat and cover up. Protect yourself and prevent skin cancer, it’s that easy!”

Cover Up, Mate urges men in particular to protect themselves against the harmful effects of the sun. Statistics show that levels of skin cancer continue to rise. Those that spend a lot of time outdoors are more at risk because of their increased exposure to sunlight.

For the last three years men have been the focus of the campaign, as research indicates that women are more likely to slap on the sun-cream and a hat. Cancer Research figures indicate that, since the 1970s, skin cancer rates have quadrupled and the incidence of skin cancer in men is growing at twice the rate that it is for women.

The weather is warming up this week and the Met Office is warning it doesn’t have to be sunny for UV rays to have a harmful affect.

Yolanda Clewlow, the Strategic Lead for Health at the Met Office said:

“If you’re working outdoors it’s important to remember that UV levels are usually highest between May and September. You can still get burnt even when it’s cloudy, clouds don’t stop all UV rays, and unlike the sun’s warmth, it’s difficult to know when they may be harming you. We advise people to check our UV forecast before they leave the house.”

The advice from NHS Choices remains that people with fair skin, moles, freckles, red or fair hair, or light coloured eyes are the most susceptible to skin cancer.

The advice for everyone, including outdoor workers is:

• Stay in the shade wherever possible
• Make sure you don’t burn
• Protect yourself by wearing suitable clothing, e.g. a hat if possible
• Wear sunglasses and sunscreen of at least factor 15
• Reapply your sunscreen every few hours.

You can find more information about skin cancer prevention at:

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Health & Wellbeing

Crawley health clinic offers free classes for National Fitness Day

The Crawley based clinic will give locals the chance to try one of their new ‘Bridgefit’ classes.



A local movement rehabilitation and wellbeing clinic is getting involved in an event which thousands across the country will be participating in – National Fitness Day.

Taking place on 26 September, National Fitness Day is a chance to highlight the role physical activity plays across the UK, helping raise awareness of its importance in helping to lead healthier and active lifestyles.

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National Fitness Day sees a huge range of activity options enjoyed by participants of all ages, such as ‘plank offs’, yoga and Pilates classes, treadmill challenges, high-street HIIT classes, dance-offs, mass walks and many more.

Bridgeham Clinic is challenging Crawley residents to improve their fitness with a new style of class.

“We are holding FREE 15-minute ‘taster’ Bridgefit classes on the 26th of September from 11.00am to 12.45pm. Come and see what it is all about and whether you are brave enough to sign up!”

What is Bridgefit?

Bridgefit is a fast-paced workout with a cardio element combined with the techniques of Pilates, but with a Bootcamp edge.

Regular classes will usually last 40 minutes to make it possible for those who work to fit a class in to their lunch break.

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For those who want even more of a challenge, they can try a free taster Bridgefit ‘Circuit class’ between 1.00pm and 2.30pm on the 26th September. Bridgefit circuits provide a great workout using the Pilates machines to hone and tone your body.

Call Bridgeham on 01293 542245 to book your place on either or both classes.

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