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ScreenCancerUK scans for skin cancer at Regent Pharmacy in Windmill Street, Gravesend

A pharmacy marked World Cancer Day by demonstrating the skin screening process it offers customers who struggle to fit a doctor’s appointment into their busy lives.

Regent Pharmacy in Windmill Street, Gravesend, teamed up with company ScreenCancer UK last summer and started offering a mole scanning service.

During sessions, lasting 15 to 20 minutes, a trained health care assistant moves a scanner over the mole or other skin imperfection the visitor is worried about.

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Raj Sandhu, health care assistant, demonstrates the equipment on Tina Soskind from ScreenCancer UK. Picture: Matthew Walker
Raj Sandhu, health care assistant, demonstrates the equipment on Tina Soskind from ScreenCancer UK. Picture: Matthew Walker

A light passes 2mm into the person’s skin and creates five different images of the mole that can be studied by a medical professional, including one that shows its blood supply.

If the patient has nothing to worry about they receive the good news via text message or letter but if they need to book a GP appointment or monitor their mole they will receive a phone call from ScreenCancer UK.

Tina Soskind, new business and service manager at ScreenCancer UK, said: “It can be hard to get an appointment at your GP and often getting a mole checked is last on your list. So some people are running around with melanoma and not getting it checked.

The screening doesn't hurt and can even be used on pregnant women. Picture: Matthew Walker
The screening doesn't hurt and can even be used on pregnant women. Picture: Matthew Walker

“We promise results in two weeks but it can be 24 to 48 hours on a good day and I’ve never known it take longer than a week.

“Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the UK and it’s on the increase. More people are diagnosed in Australia but more people die here because people aren’t as aware of it.”

Customers pay £35 for their first mole to be scanned then £15 for each additional one after that and about 50 people have had the test done at Regent Pharmacy in a little over six months.

The pharmacy is also selling wrist bands in aid of Cancer Research UK as part of World Cancer Day, which was on Saturday and aims to raise awareness and funds to combat all kinds of cancers.

See the ScreenCancer website or ScreenCancer UK on Facebook

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