Cricketers in England to get skin cancer tests
First class cricketers in England are to receive skin cancer tests after figures showed that many are at risk of melanoma - the deadliest form of the disease.
A number of Australian players have had melanomas removed in recent years. Now, new statistics show that one in seven English county players who had check-ups were referred to a specialist after being found to have potential signs of the disease.
All members of the Professional Cricketers Association (PCA) will now undergo screening with private specialist clinics in a bid to detect any signs of skin cancer.
In a statement on its website, the PCA said that it takes the disease "very seriously" and is working "to raise awareness of the dangers, screening players and umpires to ensure that any signs are detected and treated early".
The organisation is also extending its skin cancer awareness campaign to supporters at cricket matches, with staff from skin clinics set to attend and inform people about the need for sunscreen and hats.
Jason Ratcliffe, assistant chief executive of the PCA, told Sky News: "Every first class player will get a 20-minute check from a visiting nurse."
Mr Ratcliffe pointed out that the length of the game and the time spent in foreign countries puts cricketers at a greater risk of skin cancer than other sportspeople.
"As such, we feel it's our duty of care to them to provide this service," he added.
Worcestershire player Kabir Ali welcomed the move, telling the news provider: "Most cricketers wouldn't notice or know what to do if they saw something on their skin. These tests are very useful for us."
Hazel Nunn, health information manager at Cancer Research UK, said: "Too much exposure to UV radiation from the sun is the main cause of skin cancer.
"People, like cricketers, who spend a lot of time outside in the middle of the day need to be especially aware of the risks and protect themselves with hats, clothing and at least factor 15 sunscreen when in strong sunlight."
Ms Nunn noted that skin cancer is much easier to treat - and the chances of survival greatly improved - if it is caught early.
She advised: "If you notice a change in size, shape or colour of a mole, freckle or other patch of skin you should get this checked out by your GP without delay."