This week (8-14 May) is Sun Awareness Week, an annual event overseen by the British Association of Dermatologist’s (BAD) Skin Cancer Prevention Committee which comprises leading medical professionals with expertise in skin cancer, vitamin D and public health messaging.
The campaign aims to raise awareness of skin cancer by encouraging people to self-examine regularly for signs of the disease and educating them about the dangers of sunburn and excessive tanning, including the use of sunbeds.
A new survey by BAD has revealed that more than one in three (35%) of British people have been sunburnt in the last year while in the UK and of those 28% were sunburnt three or more times. People are even more likely to be sunburnt abroad, with almost half of Britons who have been abroad in the last 12 months getting sunburnt while away (46%). This high incidence is despite the fact that 88% of people in this country believe that sun awareness messaging is relevant to their skin type, BAD reports.
Lucie Prothero, a senior associate in the clinical negligence team at Penningtons Manches who specialises in delayed diagnoses of cancer cases, said: “We agree with BAD that its latest survey is worrying and suggests that many of us are not necessarily taking on board the message about the importance of sun protection.
“Skin cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in the UK and rates continue to rise. At least 100,000 new cases are now diagnosed each year and the disease kills seven people every day and over 2,500 people each year in the UK. Sun exposure is a key factor in this.
“We strongly support the annual Sun Awareness campaign. Our team acts for many clients who are suffering due to skin cancer, often in circumstances where there has been a delayed diagnosis. Skin cancer is one of the most preventable cancers and we all have the power to take steps to help protect ourselves against it.”