Dubai – MENA Herald: Friends of Cancer Patients (FoCP) and NIVEA Sun Middle East have announced the continuation of “Mole Talk,” a pan-UAE skin cancer awareness and school education program first launched in September 2014.

Throughout the coming year, over 1,500 male and female students will be educated about skin cancer detection and prevention methods while a medical team advises students on how to follow simple steps for a complete sun protection regime that helps reduce the risks of developing skin cancer.

The school visits, once finished – will have taken place in primary and secondary schools in Dubai, Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah and Ajman to reach young people across the UAE. As part of a national outreach programme for schools, the campaign’s medical teams have already visited 12 schools to deliver a one-hour presentation with more to come in the following months.

The presentation highlights the signs and symptoms of skin cancer and encourages students to lead a sun-safe lifestyle to protect themselves from strong sunlight, especially during the hot summer months.

The medical team on the tour also advises students to practice sun-protection basics all year round, most notably in summer, to give their skin the best chance of long-term health, and to prevent skin cancer. Students will be encouraged to regularly apply sun protection creams, seek out shade, avoid the sun at midday, cover up with clothing and wide-brimmed hats, to wear UV-blocking sunglasses and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.

Dr. Sawsan Al Madhi, Director General of FoCP, said “Skin cancer is a lifestyle disease that affects young adults as well as older people as the damage to skin can occur many years before cancer actually develops. This is why we are conducting the campaign, to improve awareness in our region where the climate leaves us highly exposed to the risk of skin cancer. It is vitally important to educate the public about how to ‘listen’ to their skin and follow simple tips that help prevent skin cancer, the fourth most common cancer among men in the region and the fifth most common among women.”

Naheel Abdelall, Marketing Communications Manager for Beiersdorf MENA added: “One of the best ways to tackle the potential threat of skin cancer is through taking cautionary measures when out in the sun. The regular application of quality sun protection is an important part of that, which is why NIVEA Sun felt it was important to partner with FoCP and launch Mole Talk. We want to help tackle skin cancer through prevention and awareness, so that people can enjoy the sunshine and great weather that we have here in the region in a safe way. Through Mole Talk, we are working to ensure all ages, from school age upwards, understand the importance of looking after their skin.”

The 12 schools visited to date have been American International School. French Dubai Schools, Al Manar Secondary School, Ajman Modern School, Dar Al Marefa School. Al Maaref Private, Al Zuhoor Private School, Department if Children Centers Summer Camp, Excellist Learning Center, Arab Unity School, Indian High School and Al Noor International School.

Four more schools across the UAE will also be visited in the next few weeks; Al Durra School, GEMS Westminster School, Al Dawah Private School and Ras Al Khaimah Academy.

According to the UN World Health Organisation (WHO), between two to three million non-melanoma skin cancers and 132,000 melanoma skin cancers occur globally each year. However, skin cancer is also highly treatable if detected early, with a cure rate of up to 100%.

The “Mole Talk” campaign is a joint initiative by FoCP, the UAE’s leading cancer specific charity, and NIVEA Sun Middle East. Mole Talk aims to raise awareness about skin cancer, specifically highlighting the importance of both protection and early detection by educating the public and healthcare professionals about one of the MENA region’s most common but least understood cancers.