Grandfather-of-four Neville Jennings was a self-confessed sun worshipper before a shocking skin cancer diagnosis.
Neville, from Stockport, was diagnosed with melanoma, a type of skin cancer, in September last year, and is urging people to stay safe in the sun and protect themselves from skin cancer.
The 68-year-old is backing an NHS sun safety campaign by Greater Manchester Cancer Alliance.
Neville said: “I’ve loved the beach since I was a youngster. I’ve had lots of holidays abroad and was a bit of a sun worshipper. I always thought I had the type of skin that didn’t burn.
“My wife used to tell me to cover up or put sun cream on, but I rarely bothered. Looking back, I was a bit stupid, so don’t be like me. You don’t want to go through what I’ve been through.” As well as the physical operations,
it’s the toll it takes on your mental health whilst waiting for the results. From now on, I’ll be wearing factor 50 and a cap in the sun. It’s so important to cover up, stay safe and protect yourself. I’ve been lucky.”
Neville’s skin cancer was picked up by a nurse who was prepping him for an unrelated procedure, who advised him to see his GP about a dark mark on his side. He was referred to the Northern Care Alliance’s Dermatology Service at Altrincham Health and Wellbeing Centre, where he had the mole removed on the day under local anaesthetic.
He then went to The Christie for another procedure to remove some more of the surrounding area, and a lymph node sample. He is now cancer-free and has six-monthly check-ups.
The retired heating engineer, who owned his own business, said: “I’ve received excellent care from the NHS and my family, especially my wife Ann, have been so supportive to get me through my treatment.
“I can’t thank everyone enough.”
Dr John Newsham, consultant dermatologist in Greater Manchester, said: “The main cause of skin cancer is damage from UV rays, from being out in the sun or using sunbeds.
“We want to encourage everyone to protect their skin from sun damage when they’re at home or on holiday abroad. Staying in the shade, covering up and using a sun cream of SPF30 or above are some of the best things that people can do to reduce their chances of getting skin cancer.
“People should also stay off sunbeds.”
The sun in the UK is strong enough to cause skin damage between March and October. Spend time in the shade between 11am and 3pm, and take extra care with babies and small children, or if your skin is very pale.
The NHS recommends that you check your skin regularly, keeping an eye out for moles that:
- Change shape, or look uneven
- Change colour, get darker or are made up of more than two colours
- Start itching, crusting, flaking or bleeding
- Get larger
If you notice any changes or are worried, your GP wants to see you.
For more information from the NHS about staying safe in the sun, visit the NHS website.