"We are exposed here more than probably other places in the world, for a variety of reasons. Part of that is the ozone layer, although people play that up a little. It's really a lot to do with the clarity of the air; being a maritime, small island, we don't get a lot of that continental dust. There's not a lot of filtering out there. And we have a high recreational environment, where a lot of people are very into their sport. So there's a lot of intermittent sun exposure and burning, and that – particularly during childhood – is your biggest risk factor."
"Getting cumulative sun exposure over time is not such a big risk factor, but getting those intermittent bursts of sunburning is – particularly during childhood. Young children are in their formative, DNA-evolving stage. So each of those cells is very responsive to the environment – and if that environment gets stressed with UV exposure, you'll respond with abnormal repair mechanisms and that's probably what results in the cumulative long-term risk of developing skin cancer. So defending your children is key – but I find young mums are far better at looking after their children than themselves. And women are much better, generally, than men. It's that attitude of 'I'm bulletproof and I don't need to do any of those things'. Men – usually single, young men – are the highest risk category."
"Melanoma is only one form of skin cancer. Stop thinking of mole checks and start thinking of skin checks – because we're really looking for your overall risk factor; non-melanoma skin cancers are much more common than melanoma. They're little scaly things, nodules, non-healing sores, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. It's really important to know the difference, because melanoma is largely inherited and the other types are not. Yes, melanoma is influenced by sun exposure but your genetics play a big part. If your brother or sister had melanoma, then you're considered high risk and you should be seen every year."
"Fortunately, skin cancer is visible and something you can check for. However, it's hard to teach people how to recognise skin cancer, so we're still in a position where we have to rely on the medical professionals to check things. If you're ever worried about anything on your skin because it's changing or because it's new – and those are the two big things to look for – just get it checked out. If your GP says it's nothing to worry about, but you continue to worry, get a second opinion. Mole mapping is very good for high-risk people, but it's not a stand-alone thing – you should also see a GP or specialist.