Nurse teaches tattoo artists about skin cancer

Tattooists shown how to spot clients' unusual moles in an effort to save lives

A skin cancer nurse is encouraging tattoo artists to help save lives by spotting potential melanomas.

The awareness campaign is being promoted by Macmillan skin cancer specialist nurse, Jaye Kissane, and specialist skin cancer consultant Jonathon Pleat, who read about a similar initiative in Brazil and thought it could work in the UK.

The pair invited tattoo artists to an event at Southmead Hospital, Bristol and gave them a presentation on melanoma. The tattooists were shown pictures and offered advice about what to look for, including moles that are asymmetrical, have ragged edges or irregular pigmentation, and change over time.

Melanoma can kill if it is not treated early and is the most common skin cancer in young adults.

Staff at North Bristol NHS Trust diagnose approximately 300 cases of melanoma every year.

Ms Kissane said: ‘Tattoo artists spend all day looking at skin and they might be seeing areas that people don’t often look at themselves, like the middle of their backs. They will often see the same person several times and have a chance to be aware of any changes.

‘We’re not asking tattoo artists to diagnose melanoma, but they are in a position to suggest their client goes to a GP to have their mole looked at.’

She says she now intends to share the information with hairdressers and massage therapists.

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