'I want to call police if people sunbathe topless'

Dr Salako with a short beard and glasses wearing a brown jacket
Kazeem Salako says that baring the skin when it is sunny is like "committing suicide" [Tom Percival/BBC]

A skin specialist has said he feels like calling the police if he sees people taking their shirts off in the sun.

Kazeem Salako, a dermatologist at Northampton General Hospital (NGH), said sunbathing without protecting the skin was "like committing suicide".

One of his colleagues also believes sunbeds should be banned because they increase the risk of skin cancer.

NGH is organising screening sessions at GP surgeries so people can have their skin checked.

Dr Salako said: "I feel like calling the police or something because my office overlooks Becket's Park and, when I look through my window, I see people removing their shirts - blond, white, North European skin type.

"I feel like 'what are you doing?' - it's just like committing suicide - it's a serious matter."

Hayley Masters with short fair hair wearing a nurse's uniform
Hayley Masters believes sunbeds should be banned because they can cause skin cancer [Tom Percival/BBC]

His colleague Hayley Masters, a Macmillan skin cancer specialist nurse, says his feelings are well known in the hospital.

She said: "We can't go to work if we've got a suntan or sunburn because Dr Salako will go mad - we do not go out in the sun, we hide away!"

Dr Salako has good reason to be vigilant because the age group targeted by skin cancer seems to be widening.

He said: "Before, it used to be people in their 50s [and] 60s but now we're seeing more people in their late 30s [and] early 40s with nasty skin cancers because of their habits."

Hand holding a circular piece of equipment with a dial on the front
Patients have their skin checked with a dermatoscope for signs of cancer [CINAPSIS]

Ms Masters said there was one particular cancer-causing habit she would like to see the back of - sunbeds: "They need to be banned in my opinion - when you see signs 'get your safe sun here', it shocks me to death.

"You see queues of people waiting for these sunbeds."

With skin cancer sometimes being asymptomatic, people can walk around with cancerous skin lesions without knowing it, so the hospital has arranged clinics where anyone can get their moles checked for any signs of cancer.

The screening sessions are being held at the King Edward Road and Abington Park GP surgeries on Wednesday.

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