We highlight the importance of keeping an eye on your clients’ skin.
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the UK and rates of melanoma, its deadliest form, have more than quadrupled in the last 30 years. People working in the therapy industry come into close contact with people’s skin every day. This means you are in a unique position to spot possible skin cancers.
Although you are not expected to diagnose skin cancers, you can play a vital role in noticing changes in your clients’ skin and providing information about where they can go to seek medical advice.
Ray Vyse AFHT, a massage therapist, noticed a mole on his client’s leg; “It had grown in size, had a darker appearance and an irregular shape”. Without causing alarm, he suggested that she have it looked at by her doctor. In this instance the lesion was a malignant melanoma, and it was consequently removed.
What to tell your clients…
- Don’t panic! It is important not to alarm clients.
- Remember you are not a doctor! Therapists are not expected to diagnose skin cancers.
- Ask your clients if they are aware of the mole or lesion.
- Signpost clients to public information about the signs of skin cancer and how to seek help.
For information on the signs of skin cancer, download the Melanoma Taskforce leaflet, endorsed by the FHT: http://www.fht.org.uk/fs/s/v/melanoma-taskforce.pdf
For information on the British Association of Dermatologists’ skin cancer appeal: www.ittakesseven.org.uk