Welsh Government & Skin Cancer

Together for Health, Cancer Delivery Plan for the NHS up to 2016

Cancer is one of the two biggest causes of premature death in Wales. With our ageing population the demand for cancer care is increasing. The Welsh Government set the following plan to improve skin cancer management in Wales;

Prevention initiatives

One of the Government's key aims is to reduce the incidence of all cancer in Wales through primary prevention. The Welsh Government have identified skin cancer, including non-melanoma skin cancer and malignant melanoma, the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Wales. The main cause of skin cancer is excessive sun exposure, and relatively small changes to the way people behave in the sun can decrease personal risk.

The aim is to encourage sun protection behaviours through national campaigns and local initiatives by providing education and advice through Primary Health Care Teams.  

Welsh Government Chief Medical Officer's Skin Cancer Prevention

Health promotion & prevention are the responsibility of the Health Boards supported by Public Health Wales. A key cancer-specific initiative is "Sunsmart" the UK's national skin cancer prevention and sun awareness campaign run by Cancer Research UK on behalf of the UK health departments.

Existing initiatives to promote healthy eating and exercise relevant to coronary care are to also be used to prevent cancer.

Early Detection  

Recognition of possible warning signs for cancer and access to medical advice at an early stage is linked to earlier diagnosis and a higher probability of a successful outcome.

Detecting skin cancer - how to spot the changes early 

Those in professional roles associated with cancer detection i.e. primary care are competent in early identification of cancer symptoms. The Skills for Health initiative is aimed at supporting skills improvement. The implementation of National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidance on referral of suspected cancer is designed for this purpose.  

National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidance on referral of suspected cancer 

At the moment there is no general screening programme in the UK for skin cancer. Primary Health Care Teams are key players in identifying high risk groups and in referring suspected cases to hospital dermatologists and Multidisciplinary Specialist Teams 

Improved Access

Here the policy aim is to provide diagnosis, treatment and palliative care services for people with cancer that match or surpass the best in Europe. In particular, to achieve and sustain comparable one year and five-year survival rates with the top European quartile by 2015.

Better services

The Cancer Information System Cymru (CaNISC) supports clinical audit. Clinical audit addresses quality issues systematically by providing reliable information with an aim of improving the quality of services. (1)


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