A BUSINESS chief who underwent treatment for skin cancer is urging people to take extra care in the sun this summer.

Julie Cleaver, 52, who is president of the Weymouth and Portland Chamber of Commerce, wants to raise awareness about the condition and a charity which supports sufferers.

Julie initially noticed a small spot on her nose last year which wouldn’t clear up. She said: “I saw my GP twice before they would acknowledge it was skin cancer. They sent me away with spot cream the first time, but I knew it wasn’t a spot. Then they said it would be six weeks until I could see a specialist, so I referred myself to a consultant.”

Julie was diagnosed with a deep-rooted basal cell carcinoma that had grown into her cartilage and would need to be dug out of her nose.

She said her hour-long operation under local anaesthetic was ‘absolutely terrifying’ as her surgeon had to cut a flap in her skin and reconstruct both sides of her nose, leaving her with 38 stitches.

During treatment Julie discovered About Face, a Dorset charity supporting people affected with cancers of the head and neck and she decided to raise money for the charity throughout her WPCC presidency.

A Summer Soiree at Pennsylvania Castle in Portland raised £235 for the charity and Julie said she wanted to keep raising awareness about skin cancer.

“It was a traumatising thing to go through for the sake of not putting on suncream,” she said.

“I really want to reach young people too, because you think you’re invincible and you’ll live forever at that age. But I spent a lot of time backpacking around Australia and South Africa in my twenties and didn’t use suncream and I think that’s when most of the damage was done.”

Chief executive of About Face Ian Catley said: “I admire Julie’s tenacity in adopting our charity during her presidency. Her keenness to raise awareness could save lives. The sun is a welcome presence, but we all need to protect ourselves and those we love from its harmful rays.”

The charity’s advice is to seek shade between 11am and 3pm, wear a t-shirt, wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses and use at least SPF 15 sunscreen with good UVA protection.

For more information about the charity visit localgiving.com/charity/aboutface or call 01202 677340.