Be skin smart postcard ‘very likely’ saved my life

20 June 2023

NHS Kent and Medway Cancer Alliance’s #beskinsmart roadshow is heading to the seaside and outdoor events again this summer.

The alliance’s early diagnosis programme team and colleagues have packed their hats, cover-ups and sun cream to go out and about to highlight the importance of:

  • being skin smart
  • staying safe in the sun
  • regularly checking your skin for new moles or changes to existing ones.


Chris, 78, saw a Be Skin Smart posChris with life-saving be skin smart postcardter in a café in Tenterden last summer and now feels the information has ‘very likely’ saved his life.

After seeing the poster, he picked up one of the Cancer Alliance’s #beskinsmart mole identification postcards, which encourage people to check their skin regularly for new moles or changes to existing ones.


Chris ticked all five of the ABCDE signs for one of his moles, so he followed the advice and made an appointment to see his GP.

He saw his GP in September, had surgery in October to remove the mole for analysis and was told in November that it was grade 3c melanoma. 

Chris said: “Acting swiftly on the advice card has very likely saved my life. Always remember that doctors will much prefer to see patients with suspicious moles that turn out to be harmless.”


Up to 90 per cent of skin cancers are preventable by adopting simple sun-safe strategies.

Skin cancer is also one of the only cancers we can physically see developing in its early stages and if detected, diagnosed and treated early enough, almost all cases are curable.

Learning about the risks associated with UV exposure, how to prevent skin cancer and how to spot the early signs and symptoms  saves lives.

Dr Tina George, Early Diagnosis Clinical Lead, Kent and Medway Cancer Alliance said: “It’s really important that we take care of our skin while enjoying the sunshine.

“Some simple steps can help keep our skin safe and reduce the risk of developing skin cancer, including always using sun cream of at least factor 30 and wearing a sun hat. 

“It’s equally important to check your moles. If you do notice new moles or any changes to existing ones, it’s very important you contact your GP practice as soon as possible.

“It may not be anything to worry about, but it’s best to get checked by a professional because early diagnosis makes treatments more effective and many early-stage skin cancers can be cured altogether.”

For more information visit

New z-card

As well as the postcards which Chris picked up last year, there’s now a wallet-sized pull-out leaflet, also called a z-card, with the sun safety and mole identification information, that has a ruler to measure your moles and space where you can make a record of your concerns to share with your GP.

Roadshow dates

This year, you can join the Cancer Alliance team to find out about being skin smart on:

Monday, 26 June, at Romney Marsh Community Hub, Rolfe Lane, New Romney, TN28 8JR.

Monday, 24 July, 10.30am to 2pm, Margate Main Sands, Margate Main Sands (near lifeguard station), 18 Marine Terrace, Margate CT9 1XJ.

CANCELLED Thursday, 27 July, 11am to 2pm, Sheppey Big Summer Bash, Sheppey Healthy Living Centre, Beach Street, Sheerness, ME12 1HH.

Tuesday, 8 August, 10.30am to 2pm, Sunny Sands, Folkestone, near The Stade, CT19 6AU.                  

Check your skin

Make sure you regularly check your skin for new moles, or changes to existing ones. Know your ABCDEs when it comes to checking.

If you notice anything unusual, always contact your GP straight away.

A – Asymmetry: Both halves don’t look the same.

B – Border: The mole has blurred or jagged edges.

C – Colour: The mole has more than one colour.

D – Diameter: Grows larger than 6mm.

E – Evolution: Changes size, shape or colour.

A mole which starts bleeding unexpectedly can be a concern and itching, crusting or swelling may be significant too.

For more information visit

Stay sun safe

No matter the colour of your skin, staying safe in the sun reduces your chances of suffering from skin cancer.

There are some simple steps you can follow to be skin smart:

Avoid being in the sun from 11am to 3pm, the hottest part of the day.

Make sure you apply sun cream regularly and try never to get sunburn.

Your sun cream should have an SPF of at least factor 30, and a minimum of a four-star rating.

Wear a hat and stay covered up with suitable clothes and sunglasses.

Find out how to stay safe in the sun at

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