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Sun Protection Ignored Despite Warnings

In spite of increased concern over skin cancer many people still disregard the use of sunscreen to protect their skin. In a recently concluded survey it was noticed that one in three Briton do not protect their skin from the sun.

More than 75,000 new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in the UK each year, and recent research predicts that the incidence of melanoma skin cancer will treble in the next 30 years.

Research by the Institute of Cancer Research has found that over a third of people do not use sunscreen while sunbathing, and nearly half of the 2,000 people surveyed were unable to describe the signs of skin cancer. One in 10 said more should be done to educate people about the dangers of skin cancer.

82% of the people polled said that they knew the dangers of a sun bed and have not been using them.

"These results reflect the fact that people are deeply concerned about skin cancer, but that many people still do not know how to look after their skin. The number of people getting skin cancer is rising dramatically, so it is vitally important that everyone is aware of how to protect themselves from the harmful rays of the sun," said Professor Richard Marais from The Institute of Cancer Research.

"Most cases of skin cancer can be avoided, and if caught early enough the disease can be treated. That is why everyone should know the signs and symptoms of the disease and visit their doctor immediately if in any doubt."

Experts also warn that climate change may cause the number of cases to increase even more dramatically than predicted. Professor Richard Marais said: "There is growing concern about climate change and its long term effects on the weather. If this leads to more sunshine then it is likely that the incidence of skin cancer, which is caused by overexposure to UV light, will rise at an even more alarming rate."

Rebecca Russell, manager of Cancer Research UK's SunSmart cam paign said: "Skin cancer is one of the most common cancers in the UK and the number of people diagnosed each year has more than doubled since the early 80s.

"Up to eight in 10 skin cancers could be prevented by being SunSmart, so it's very important to be aware of how to enjoy the sun safely. Sunscreens can help to protect against skin cancer, but they're not enough on their own. In strong sunlight, our best advice is to use factor 15+ sunscreen, seek shade between 11am and 3pm, cover up and take care not to burn."

The growing need for consumer awareness has not gone unnoticed by the European Commission, which has started an information initiative this week that requires sunscreen manufacturers to amend all sunscreen labels by next summer.

Professor Peter Rigby, Chief Executive of The Institute of Cancer Research commented: "The Institute of Cancer Research is conducting cutting edge research to help find better treatments for skin cancer. Many important breakthroughs have been made but there is still much more to do. That is why we urge people to support the SAFE campaign so that we can keep up the good work."


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