Scare tactics around skin cancer appear to have failed, with the majority of Brits (74 per cent) admitting they suffered sun damage in the UK this summer. Despite constant advice to wear sunscreen, almost a third of Brits claim they haven’t hit the bottle this year.
In response to the UK’s lackluster efforts to protect itself from the rising tide of skin cancer, the Karen Clifford Skin Cancer Charity, along with actress Amanda Holden, has launched a new campaign, Give Your Skin A Good Feel, to encourage Brits to keep an eye out for any changes that could signal cancer.
[Related article: Middle age skin cancer cases on the rise]
It comes after a survey released earlier this month caused experts to brand Brits ‘naïve’ about their risk of skin cancer. Almost half of a group of 2086 adults polled by YouGov put their risk of skin cancer at low or non-existent, despite diagnosis rates increasing by 16 per cent in the 16-34 age bracket in just five years.
“There is an inherent naivety among people in the UK about the risks of skin cancer,” said Mr Paul Banwell, Consultant Plastic Surgeon at Nuffield Health, which commissioned the survey. “Because we live in a climate with relatively little sunshine and lots of rain people believe they are not at risk, but this is a fallacy.
“These are often the people who spend lots of time outside or who fail to protect themselves in the sun, and who later on in life are utterly shocked to discover they are suffering the consequences. The biggest predictor for skin cancer later in life is sun burn when you are young; whether it materialises in your early 20s or in your 60s. Sadly, sun awareness and skin checks are not part of our education, and this needs to be addressed as a priority.”
The campaign hopes to raise awareness of the 100,000 cases of non-melanoma skin cancers that are diagnosed each year, which are not associated with moles.
Dr John Lear, Consultant Dermatologist at the Manchester Royal Infirmary added: "It's important to remember that it's not just the summer months you should be thinking about your skin and sun damage. Ultra violet levels can be high and catch people unaware throughout the year."
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