- Brits given skin cancer warning despite damp predictions for bank holiday
- There are 16,700 new cases of Melanoma skin cancer a year in UK
A skin cancer warning has been issued ahead of the bank holiday weekend, despite the expected drop in temperature.
Brits have been urged to use sunscreen, wear a hat and spend time in the shade by Melanoma Focus to protect themselves against the most serious type of skin cancer.
Around 16,700 people in the UK are diagnosed with melanoma every year.
Nine in 10 cases are triggered by too much exposure to UV light — emitted by the sun or sunbeds — which damages the DNA in skin cells and causes them to grow out of control.
While the Met Office has predicted a mostly damp weekend with ‘no signals’ of any hot weather to come, the charity warned that UV levels are expected to be ‘moderate or high’.
Signs of skin cancer range from innocuous to obvious, but experts warn that treating cases early is key to making sure they do not spread or further develop
Two people walk along Blackpool’s North Pier during Britain’s mostly miserable summer
There is set to be ‘heavy’ rain on Saturday and Sunday and a mixture of showers and sunny spells on Monday, with average highs of 20C to 21C (68F to 69.8F) across the country.
But Brits are still at risk of UV exposure as they spend more time outdoors than usual.
Susanna Daniels, CEO of Melanoma Focus, urged people to protect themselves by using high-factor sun protection, along with ‘seeking shade and wearing a hat when in the sun’.
She added: ‘About nine in 10 melanoma skin cancer cases are preventable and it is vital that people take the warnings about the dangers of excessive sun exposure seriously, particularly from May to October.
‘About seven people die from melanoma every day in the UK and more people die from melanoma in the UK than in Australia.’
How to stay safe in the Sun
Even in the UK UV rays are strong enough to burn your skin.
Spending time in the shade when the sun is at its strongest can help protect your skin.
In the UK this is between 11am and 3pm between March and October.
The NHS also suggests:
- Covering up with suitable clothing and sunglasses
- taking extra care with children
- Using at least factor 30 sunscreen
- Sunscreen should be at least 4-star UVA protection
- People with pale, white or light brown skin should take extra care
- If you have freckles, many moles or fair hair you should also take extra care in the sun
Recent research has shown that there has been a huge increase in the number of people in the UK being diagnosed with melanoma.
Young people are more likely to be diagnosed with the skin cancer, which kills 2,300 people in the UK each year.
A new mole or change in an existing one is the main symptom of melanoma.
Professor Catherine Harwood, a consultant dermatologist at Barts Health and a trustee at Melanoma Focus warned that sun exposure, particularly when young, can cause permanent DNA damage in the skin, which makes it more likely that melanoma will develop.
She added: ‘Skin protection should be taken seriously, especially by those with lighter skin tones.
‘During the summer, whether in the UK or abroad, I recommend wearing a combined UVA and UVB sunscreen of SPF 30 or above and avoiding the sun in the middle of the day.’
However, 32 per cent of British people reported rarely or never using sunscreen when in the UK, according to a survey by the charity.
And only 11 per cent saying that they always use it, results showed.
Its findings revealed that male respondents were particularly reluctant to use sunscreen, with 40 per cent saying they rarely or never use it and only eight per cent reporting that they always use it.
The majority of people said they don’t wear sun cream in the UK because they don’t expect to burn.
But half of people surveyed said they got burned at least once a year, rising to 71 per cent among those aged 26 to 35.
Sunday is looking particularly cloudy with rain pushing across east
Most of the country basked in glorious sunshine and warm weather earlier this week – but now there’s little hope of this continuing. Pictured: People enjoying the sunshine in Bournemouth