AS temperatures rise, many people have their sights on getting a golden tan this summer.
Nevertheless, soaking up the sun is not without risks, especially when it comes to our skin.
Dr Jonathan Bertalot, a GP with a keen interest in treating skin cancer, is urging people to take extra care when enjoying the hot weather over the next few months.
Dr Bertalot runs urgent suspected skin cancer clinics at Ysbyty Alltwen in Tremadog.
He said: “It’s important to remember that the sun isn’t only strong abroad. It can be strong enough in Wales to burn between mid March and mid October.
“Everyone wants to enjoy the outdoors when the weather is good, but it’s really important to remember to enjoy warm weather safely – seek shade, cover up and regularly apply sunscreen.
“Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the UK, and the number of people diagnosed with the condition has risen steeply since the 1970s. This shows how important it is to be sun aware, and how important it is to never allow yourself to burn.”
As well as being sun aware, Dr Bertalot is also keen for the public to contact their GP if they notice any changing moles.
“Skin cancer is treatable but early diagnosis is key. Your first port of call should be your GP if you notice something that doesn’t go away within a couple of weeks or if you are concerned about any new or changing moles,” he added.
Patrick Cain, 60, from Caernarfon was one of those patients who acted swiftly when his wife noticed one of his moles had changed over a period of time.
Mr Cain was referred by his GP to Dr Bertalot’s clinic at Ysbyty Alltwen where he recently had his mole removed for further investigations.
He said: “Personally I had no idea my mole had changed as it was on my back, so luckily my wife noticed something was different.
“I was referred by my GP to a clinic in Ysbyty Gwynedd within a few weeks and then a few weeks later I had the mole removed in Ysbyty Alltwen, the process was very quick.
“It’s really important that if you notice, or if someone else notices, a mole has changed that you get it checked out straight away. I know it’s always nerve wrecking waiting for that appointment but it’s best to know so the medical team can act fast.”
Dr Bertalot, who has worked as a speciality doctor within dermatology over the last six years, has been providing a surgical course for other local GPs in Anglesey and Gwynedd to help them towards providing surgical services within their own practices, such like the one in Ysbyty Alltwen.
He said: “We run our clinic at Ysbyty Alltwen every Wednesday and we see the most urgent patients that are referred by their GP with suspected skin cancer. We carry out a minor operation under local anaesthetic to take a biopsy that is then sent for further investigations, with the results due back in around three weeks.
There is a fantastic team of nurses who work in the outpatients department at Alltwen.”