Sun Awareness Week

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With summer quickly approaching, many are already thinking of ways to enjoy the sunshine this year. From holidays to day trips, it’s the perfect time to catch a good tan.

However, many often forget the negative effects of heat exposure; and as it is sun awareness week, is the necessary time to think of ways to keep safe this summer.

Sun awareness week is supported by the British Association of Dermatologists and British Skin Foundation. After statistics of skin cancer have been rising over the years, resulting in skin cancer being the ‘most common’ cancer in the UK, the aim of Sun Awareness week is to make sure that people protect their skin and stay safe in the sun.

How do you stay safe in the sun?

  • Sunscreen! Always apply sunscreen before exposing your skin to the sun. make sure that you reapply at least every two hours and after your skin has had contact with water or anything that may remove the protection.
  • Make sure you stay in the shade especially when the sun is at its peak which is usually in the afternoon.
  • Invest in sun protection accessories such as sunglasses and hats and even a hand held fan.
  • Make sure you cover up with bright clothing that does not attract the sun.
  • Try and keep infants and young children away from the sun as possible. Make sure they are covered and protected to prevent any sun damage that could lead to skin cancer later on in life.

Warning signs of skin cancer :

There are many signs of skin cancer, and making sure you spot it early can be a life saver. Melanoma cancer is the most common cancer in young adults aged 15-24 in the UK. Statics show that melanoma cancer has risen over the last few years, becoming the most common skin cancer. Melanoma cancer has many signs you should look out for such as :

  • If you have an existing mole or a spot on your skin that changes in size shape or colour, this could be a sign of melanoma. However, melanoma can also cause new spots on your skin that you should look out for. These sports are normally an unusual shape with smooth edges and dark or uneven shading. The spots are large and often change size shape or texture.
  • Another sign of melanoma is sores that persist throughout weeks or years without healing.
  • Spots that are accompanied with swelling, pigmentation or redness that spread outside of the spot and onto the surrounding skin.
  • If you have an existing mole that then starts to bleed, scale or puss, this could also be a sign of melanoma.
  • If you start experiencing blurred or partial blindness
  • Dark spots in the iris of the eye.

Non-Melanoma skin cancer is normally caused by the exposure of ultraviolet radiation to the skin. Not only does the sun source ultra-radiation, but it can also come from the use of sunbeds. There are an estimated amount of 136,000 new non- melanoma skin cancer cases in the UK every year. Non-melanoma rates have increased by two and a half times since 1990. Some signs of non-melanoma skin cancer you should look out for are:

  • A lump appearing on the skin that is often discoloured and can increase in size.
  • A lump that is irregular in shape
  • Skin that is red or pearly white
  • Skin that is inflamed, flaky or oozing.

Last year, 35% of people in the UK were burnt at least once in the summer. Make sure you and your family follow recommended safety tips for the sun so you can enjoy a fun safe summer this year and spread awareness.


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