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Southport Reporter® covering the news on Merseyside.

Date:-  1 May 2006

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Skin Cancer: Men Not Getting the Message

A NEW survey launched this week by The Institute of Cancer Research's SAFE campaign found that 63% of men do not regularly check their skin for signs of skin cancer and, more alarmingly, that 45% do not know the signs or symptoms of skin cancer.  

The SAFE survey found that men consistently fall behind women when it comes to protecting themselves from the harmful effects of UV rays and checking their skin for any changes which could be associated with skin cancer.  Whilst women were consistently better at protecting and checking themselves, the results were still worrying - 45% of women do not regularly check their skin for abnormal changes and 31% do not know the signs of skin cancer.

Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the UK, with more than 70,000 new cases each year, yet the majority of cases could be prevented. Over the last few decades the incidence of skin cancer has increased dramatically. Currently malignant melanoma - the most deadly form of skin cancer - is the fastest growing cancer in the UK, with more than 8,000 new cases diagnosed each year.

The number of men dying from malignant melanoma continues to rise, whilst the number of women dying from the disease is starting to fall. The survey indicates that this is due to women taking a more pro-active approach when it comes to protecting their skin, through covering up in the midday sun, wearing sunscreen, avoiding long periods of exposure and checking their skin for changes. However, more than 800 women and 900 men in the UK are still dying each year from the disease.

Dr Richard Marais from The Institute of Cancer Research said:- "These findings are shocking, skin cancer is one of the most preventable cancers yet it seems that many men and women are still not getting the message about the importance of protecting and checking themselves. It is imperative that everyone protects their skin when they are in the sun, whether they are in the UK or abroad, and regularly checks their skin and moles for abnormal changes.  If the most deadly form of skin cancer, malignant melanoma, is caught in its early stages the majority of cases can be cured. However if it is not found until later, when it has spread, it is much more difficult to treat and the survival rate after 5 years is less than 5%."

Professor Peter Rigby, Chief Executive of The Institute of Cancer Research commented:- "Scientists at The Institute are at the cutting edge of malignant melanoma research and are currently working on an intensive programme of targeted drug development. However, since many cases of the disease can be prevented, we hope that through our SAFE campaign we can further raise awareness of the importance of being sun and skin aware."

The SAFE Campaign is working in partnership with high street retailer Superdrug and with the support of supermodel Cindy Crawford. In the summer months Superdrug will produce a selection of in-store literature with advice and tips on staying safe in the sun. Superdrug will also raise much-needed funds for research into skin cancer at The Institute of Cancer Research through a variety of activities including a product promotion on their SPF15+ Solait sunscreen range.

ATTEMPTED ROBBERY ON HAWTHORNE ROAD, BOOTLE

MERSEYSIDE Police are appealing for witnesses to an attempted robbery at a HGV parking area on Hawthorne Road, Bootle, to come forwards.

The robbery occurred at 12:05am on Monday 3 April. A security guard was confronted by 5 men with faces covered with scarves, who then took sets of keys from his office. The men searched through a number of trailers before leaving empty-handed.

Officers are appealing for any witnesses to the incident, or anyone who has information which may help them with their inquiries, to contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

DEAF AND HARD OF HEARING PEOPLE STILL FACE DISCRIMINATION IN THE JOB MARKET

ACCORDING to the results of an RNID survey issued this week to mark the start of Deaf Awareness Week, only 63% of deaf and hard of hearing people of working age are in employment, compared to 75% of the national work force. Thousands of deaf and hard of hearing people are still facing serious barriers to employment and RNID is urging employers to help combat discrimination and create more accessible workplaces.

RNID, the national charity representing the UK’s 9 million deaf and hard of hearing people, claims that issues ranging from attitudes of potential employers to a basic lack of deaf awareness represent serious barriers for deaf and hard of hearing people seeking work. 53% of those surveyed cited “attitude of employers” as one of the main barriers preventing them from finding employment. These barriers also severely restrict career prospects for those already in employment, creating artificial and unnecessary “glass ceilings”.  51% of those within work felt they had been held back from promotion or developing their careers as a result of their deafness and 34% felt their job didn’t make full use of their qualifications.

Cheryl Cullen, Director of ETSS at RNID, says:- “Deaf and hard of hearing people represent a talented and skilled, but largely untapped, labour resource. Every deaf and hard of hearing person is capable of working with the right support. At a time of real skills shortages in key sectors of the economy, the country cannot afford to neglect the vast pool of talent represented by deaf and hard of hearing people.”

55% of respondents in work reported feeling isolated at work due to their deafness and 24% found it difficult to communicate with their work colleagues. The vast majority (75%) felt that the situation would be improved if their employer provided deaf awareness training to their staff, yet 43% of their employers did not provide any training.

RNID's Employment Training and Skills Service (ETSS) supports deaf and hard of hearing job seekers and employees with all aspects of employment, from the application process and interviews, as well as support throughout their employment. ETSS also works closely with employers to ensure deaf and hard of hearing people receive equal opportunities in the workplace, and that businesses are aware of their obligations under the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA).

Cheryl Cullen comments:- “RNID can provide Deaf Awareness Training to any business no matter what its size, to make sure employers are aware of the barriers deaf and hard of hearing people can face in employment, and how to overcome them.”

Employers can make a profound difference by making simple changes and have a legal duty under the Disability Discrimination Act to make reasonable adjustments to the workplace and provide support. RNID is urging employers to make the simple but necessary adjustments in the way candidates are assessed and employees are treated to ensure an inclusive and effective working environment for all. Examples of how colleagues can communicate with deaf and hard of hearing people in the workplace, and practical advice on what employers can do to make reasonable adjustments for their hard of hearing employees include:

· Make sure the deaf or hard of hearing person is seated where they can see everyone, rather than facing a wall, as this could lead them to feel isolated from the office environment.

· When approaching a deaf or hard of hearing person from behind, try to attract their attention by either tapping on their shoulders or waving next to them.

· Include deaf and hard of hearing people in meetings by providing the right communication support for the individual, whether it be a sign language interpreter, speech to text operator, note taker or a lip speaker. Deaf and hard of hearing people can get funding from Access To Work for reasonable adjustments in the workplace, which can pay for communication support and equipment.

· Be aware of deaf and hard of hearing people in the workplace, for example if you have to suddenly evacuate the building in the event of a fire, make sure they are made aware of the alarm. Employers should also install effective fire alarms - this can be alarms with flashing lights or a vibrating pager. Employers should provide necessary equipment for deaf and hard of hearing employees as part of Health & Safety measures.

· Install a loop system in meeting rooms to help hearing aid users – these are cheap and effective.

· Make textphones available for deaf and hard of hearing staff, these allow them to communicate with hearing people by telephone.

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