Skin Cancer Awareness Month is an annual awareness campaign that takes place every May. The campaign aims to raise awareness of the dangers of unprotected sun exposure and educate the public about the ways to help prevent skin cancer.
According to the British Skin Foundation, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the UK and rates continue to rise. Occurrences of malignant melanoma are rising faster than any other type of common cancer. In the UK, at least 100,000 new cases are now diagnosed each year and the disease kills seven people every day, which is over 2,500 people each year. On average, someone who dies from skin cancer loses 20 years of their life.
UV exposure from the sun is one of the main causes of skin cancer and also one of the most preventable. This campaign hopes to reduce instances of skin cancer and increase the likelihood of early detection through education.
Despite this, eight out of ten people fail to adequately apply sunscreen before going out in the sun, according to a survey carried out by the British Association of Dermatologists. Its research has found that most people do not apply sunscreen either before going out in the sun or shortly afterwards. This approach is recommended for three key reasons:
During the awareness month, people who have been affected by skin cancer are encouraged to get involved by sharing their stories on all forms of social media using the hashtag #MySkinCancerJourney. They are also invited to share information about sun safety, skin cancer prevention and early detection with friends and family.
More information about Skin Cancer Awareness Month, along with fact sheets on detection and prevention can be found at www.skincancer.org.
Lucie Prothero, senior associate in the clinical negligence team at Penningtons Manches who specialises in delayed diagnoses of cancer cases, said: “We fully support Skin Cancer Awareness Month. Skin cancer is one of the most preventable cancers and we all have the power to take steps to help protect ourselves against it.
“As with most cancers, the key to greater survival prospects is normally early detection so, by encouraging self-examination, skin cancer can hopefully be caught at an early stage before it has spread. Sadly, we see the terrible outcome of delayed diagnosis of skin cancers. We receive many enquiries from cancer sufferers or bereaved families who are concerned that the opportunity for an earlier diagnosis was missed, either because of failures by GPs to investigate suspicious skin lesions or due to errors in dermatological management or pathological reporting in hospitals.”