Mike Brown has since received the good news that his cancer hadn’t spread. Image: MacMillan Cancer Support
Submitted by Macmillan Cancer Support
A skin cancer survivor and dad of two from Ardley in Cherwell, in Oxfordshire, has issued the sun safety advice that he wishes he’d had before being diagnosed with the disease.
Mike Brown said: “The summer is here. But unfortunately, my adoration of the sun over many years came to bear when I was diagnosed with stage three skin cancer.”
The 63-year-old added: “I’ve worshipped the sun for most of my life, both at home and abroad, taking a very care-free attitude towards sun protection. Anyone who knows me will know I have always had a tanned complexion.”
After a routine check-up with his GP in 2019, Mike was sent to see skin specialists and three weeks later received confirmation that he had stage three skin cancer.
Mike said: “It was two Macmillan nurses who delivered the news. It’s such a shock, nobody wants to hear the words you have cancer, but they delivered it in an incredibly professional way, making sure I understood all options and longer-term issues.
“When you’re on the receiving end, it’s human nature that you don’t always take it in, so they made sure my wife Kim understood everything too. Their service was excellent and their empathy and compassion were first class.”
Mike’s since received the good news that his cancer hadn’t spread, but is now on a five-yearly review just in case it comes back.
He said: “Skin cancer is one of the top five cancers in terms of mortality rates, yet we can do much to mitigate the risk.”
Here are Mike’s tips for staying safe in the sun:
- Know your skin – what type of skin do you have? Do you tan easily, or do you burn?
- Check the UV Index – before leaving home, always check the UV index rates – which can vary from 1-11+. You can find these on the met office website.
- Team up shade, clothing, and sunscreen – When the sun is strong, enjoy the cool of the shade and wear a hat, t-shirt, and sunglasses. On the parts you can’t cover, use sunscreen with at least SPF15 and four or more stars.
- Try the shadow rule – The sun’s UV rays are strongest when your shadow is shorter than you, so that’s when you are more likely to burn.
- Strike the right balance with Vitamin D – Vitamin D helps build and maintain strong bones, and we all need some sunshine to make it, so there’s no need to avoid the sun altogether. Short exposures should be enough for most people, just take care not to burn.
Find out more information on the signs and symptoms of skin cancer here.