Dr Sawsan Al Madhi, Secretary General for the Friends of Cancer Patients Image Credit: Supplied

Friends of Cancer Patients (FoCP) charity is supporting Mole Talk, a campaign launched by the Ministry of Health because we recognise a need to raise awareness about the causes, symptoms, detection and treatment of skin cancer in the UAE. The risks can be mitigated with simple sun-safe behaviour. Skin cancer is a lifestyle disease and therefore the first phase of the campaign aims to effect behavioural change among school and university students, helping them to recognise moles as an early sign of melanoma (a type of skin cancer) and to pursue treatment if symptoms appear.

Mole Talk is primarily focused on encouraging dialogue and openness about how people can listen to their skin, modify their behaviour and reduce the chances of skin cancer. According to the World Health Organisation, between two and three million non-melanoma skin cancers and 132,000 melanoma skin cancers occur globally each year and those rates are increasing.

However, avoiding excessive sun exposure, wearing a hat, sunglasses and long sleeves when outside and using a high SPF factor sunscreen are ways to reduce the chances of the disease developing.

Everyone can keep an eye out for moles, and to look for increased size, asymmetry, irregular border or discolouration. Mole Talk teaches people how to be vigilant, which is the best prevention.

Skin cancer has an almost 100 per cent survival rate when caught early. So we want to use Mole Talk to improve education about skin cancer prevention and instill risk-averse behaviour at an early age.

-The writer is the Secretary General of Friends of Cancer Patients