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VIDEO: "Oh God - It's Cancer"

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7:01am 18th July 2014

A Cornish dad has told Pirate FM his skin cancer was "a horror story."

Teacher Michael Rowe from St Ives found some raised skin on his arm that wouldn't heal - and so went to the doctor.

A few days later he received a phone call: "I could sense something else was going to come in that coversation.

"My immediate reaction was, 'Oh god - it's cancer.'

"My second reaction was, 'How on earth did I get this? Why me?'

"It was worrying. I can't say it wasn't. Anything where there is cancer involved is an enormous worry.

"My problem was I am very, very close to my daughter who lives in Australia. I didn't want to break the news to her. My son, who lives at home, was told."

Michael had a series of operations before being given the all clear.

Professor Debra Lapthorne, from Public Health England in the southwest said: "Statistics show that those living in the Devon, Cornwall and Somerset area are more likely to develop skin cancer than people living in the rest of England.

"There could be any number of reasons for this but it's likely to be due to a high number of outdoor jobs and leisure pursuits as well as an older population - we know that over 50s are more at risk. We are committed to raising awareness of the key signs of the disease, to encourage earlier diagnosis, when treatment is more likely to be successful.

Felicity Owen, Director of Public Health, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, said: "The campaign message is clear - if you notice any unusual or persistent changes to your skin, you should visit your doctor. It is important to take on board the campaign message and know the signs - earlier diagnosis could save lives."

The number of new cases of skin cancer diagnosed in the region of Cornwall, Devon and Somerset, given the size of the population, is double the England average. Latest figures reveal that of those in the area diagnosed with melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, one in four do not survive the disease beyond five years.

Certain people are more at risk of getting skin cancer but knowledge of some of these risks is low. Only one in three (38%) in the Devon, Cornwall and Somerset region know that people with lots of moles and freckles are more likely to get skin cancer and similarly only 32% are aware that a family history of skin cancer increases risk.

You can find out the signs to look out for here.

7:01am 18th July 2014

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