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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

Neurokinex Gatwick wins national award

Neurokinex Gatwick – a leading provider of activity-based rehabilitation for spinal cord injury – has won the 2018 National Fitness Awards’ Best Rehabilitation Facility of the Year category.



Four members of the 10-strong team were at the Award ceremony on Friday November 30th to receive the Award.

The Best Rehabilitation Facility category is open to gyms and sites who are dedicated purely to the rehabilitation market and/or who employ specially trained consultants to deal with GP referrals. Neurokinex was chosen as a finalist from 100s of entries and was up against four other finalists.

Neurokinex underwent a rigorous assessment process, which involved a site visit by a member of the awards’ team who toured the facility, chatted to clients and staff and examined all areas of the business. Detailed reports were then compiled and passed on to an expert judging panel which decided the winners.

Neurokinex Gatwick team receives National Fitness Award for Best Rehabilitation Facility

“I am very proud and happy that our Gatwick team has won this very important award,”

says Harvey Sihota, founder and director of Neurokinex.

“This achievement is testament to the hard work of the entire team. We know our ground-breaking protocols and activity-based rehabilitation therapies are redefining possibilities for adults and children with spinal cord injury. But to have this independent validation from industry experts that our work is of a national award-winning quality is an honour: I am delighted our work has been recognised this way.”

Neurokinex is a charity and a not-for-profit organisation.

The Gatwick site, which opened in 2016, sets out to redefine possibilities for people with a spinal cord injury.

Its programmes stimulate and load the entire nervous and musculoskeletal systems through carefully crafted, task-specific exercises with the assistance of skilled therapists. Neurokinex clients take part in activities such as active standing, cycling, walking and rowing, tailored to their neurological impairment.

This offers people a multitude of benefits including improvements in neurological function, muscle bulk and quality, cardiovascular health, strength and stamina, balance and trunk control, skin and bone health, range of motion and psychological wellbeing.

“Neurokinex stood out to us as a life-changing facility which combines cutting edge tech with highly-skilled and compassionate trainers,” says Judith Halkerston, Event Director, National Fitness Awards.

“It is evident that Neurokinex is changing the lives of people with spinal cord injury. Its broad client base of adults and children as young as 18 months, plus international clients who are travelling to the facility for this treatment, proves that it is offering something very special indeed. They should be very proud of their achievement and I wish them continued success going forwards.”

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