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On the eve of sun awareness week Cancer Research UK reports a

By Benjamin Sims,2014-05-12 17:29
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On the eve of sun awareness week Cancer Research UK reports a

    SURVEY SHOWS MOST PEOPLE IGNORE SUN

    SAFETY ADVICE DESPITE FEARS OF SKIN

    CANCER

CANCER RESEARCH UK reports a worrying gap between how

    much people know about skin cancer and how little they actually do

    to protect themselves in the sun against the country's most

    common form of the disease.

A survey commissioned for the charity‟s SunSmart campaign found

    that 75 per cent of the 1,850 people questioned are concerned that

    exposure to the sun can result in skin cancer.

But less than 30 per cent use shade and less than 40 per cent

    bother to apply high factor sunscreen despite the fact that more

    than 65,000 cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in the UK each year.

The survey, conducted by the Office for National Statistics on the

    eve of Sun Awareness Week (May 12-17 2003), found that overall

    women are more sun aware than men and that middle-aged people

    are better informed about the sun's dangers than the under 25's and

    over 65's.

    More…

SURVEY SHOWS MOST PEOPLE IGNORE SUN SAFETY

    ADVICE DESPITE FEARS OF SKIN CANCER …2

But all too often behaviour failed to correspond with knowledge.

    Only six per cent of those surveyed avoid the midday sun. Fewer

    than five per cent cover up with hats, t-shirts and sunglasses. And

    just 0.3 per cent said they would have their suspect moles checked

     by a doctor.

    The survey also revealed that 70% of people still think suntans make them look healthier or more attractive.

    Among 16-24 year olds, 73 per cent believed that exposure to the sun might cause skin cancer. But only a quarter of this age-group apply high factor sunscreen as protection. And fewer than 20 per cent cover up or seek shade from the sun.

    Dr Charlotte Proby, consultant dermatologist at Cancer Research UK, says: "The results of this survey are concerning. Although it is encouraging that many people are aware of the risk of skin cancer, too many of them are still not protecting themselves against the sun's damaging rays by failing to stay in the shade, cover up or apply high factor sunscreen.

    "It is particularly worrying that so many of the young people questioned in the survey are being slow to change their bad habits, because it is skin damage early in life that is most likely to result in skin cancer later on.”

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    SURVEY SHOWS MOST PEOPLE IGNORE SUN SAFETY

    ADVICE DESPITE FEARS OF SKIN CANCER …3

    Sara Hiom, co-ordinator of Cancer Research UK‟s SunSmart

    campaign, says: "The SunSmart campaign is about both reinforcing

    sun safety messages and encouraging people to act on their

    knowledge. The Australian sun awareness campaign has shown that

    with a sustained „drip drip‟ approach to information people will

    eventually change their habits. This success has finally resulted in a

    drop in the number of skin cancer cases in their younger generation.

    In contrast, our skin cancer rates are climbing. It‟s not enough to

    know how to be safer in the sun, people must actually take steps to

    protect themselves.”

Professor Siân Griffiths, President of the Faculty of Public Health

    Medicine in London, has experienced skin cancer herself. She says:

    “I was working as the Director of Public Health for Oxfordshire

    when I was diagnosed with a malignant melanoma, and was

    therefore well aware of the steps I should have taken to be safer in

    the sun. But like many people I didn‟t actually do it.

“Having skin cancer was a very traumatic experience for me and I

    wouldn‟t wish it on anyone. Thankfully it is largely preventable by

    being sensible in the sun, so I really urge people to actively use their

    knowledge and follow the SunSmart messages.”

SunSmart is co-ordinated by Cancer Research UK with funding

    from the UK Health Departments. For more information

    visit www.sunsmart.org.uk

    ENDS

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SURVEY SHOWS MOST PEOPLE IGNORE SUN SAFETY

    ADVICE DESPITE FEARS OF SKIN CANCER …4

For further media information contact Georgia Veats or Peter Flynn in the

    Cancer Research UK Press Office on 020 7061 8320/8305 or, out of hours,

    the Duty Press Officer on 07050 264059

    Notes to Editors:

The SunSmart messages are:

    ? Stay in the shade between 11am-3pm

    ? Make sure you never burn

    ? Always cover up with a T shirt, wide brimmed hat and

    sunglasses

    ? Remember to take extra care with children

    ? Then use factor 15 plus sunscreen.

Also report any mole changes or unusual skin growths promptly

    to your GP.

Monday May 12 2003 is Euromelanoma Monday. To

    mark this, the British Association of Dermatologists and Skin

    Care Campaign have teamed up with Selfridges to offer free

    mole screening clinics in its London and Manchester stores on

    that day. For more information contact Carys Thomas or Maria Coogan on 020 7240 6005.

Nine out of ten skin cancers are easily treatable and unlikely to

    spread. They are called non-melanoma skin cancer and there

    are more than 59,000 new cases registered each year in the UK.

    More…

    SURVEY SHOWS MOST PEOPLE IGNORE SUN SAFETY

    ADVICE DESPITE FEARS OF SKIN CANCER …5 Malignant melanoma, which accounts for almost one in ten skin cancers, is the most serious type of the disease and may be fatal.

    Around 6,000 people a year in the UK are diagnosed with malignant melanoma. It usually develops in cells in the outer layer of the skin but can spread to other parts of the body.

The SunSmart campaign is supported by:

    The UV Health Promotion Group whose members include the British Association of Dermatologists, National Radiological Protection Board, Skin Care Campaign, Wessex Cancer Trust, Health and Safety Executive and Guide Dogs for the Blind. Also backing the campaign are NIVEA Sun, Lloydspharmacy and Craghoppers Ltd.

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