As part of Sun Awareness Week (taking place from 9-16th May), Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust’s health staff are offering local residents simple advice on how to stay sun safe.
Every year Sun Awareness Week aims to help raise awareness of skin cancer and the risks of over-exposure to the sun. And the timing could not be more apt as the country experiences the hottest days of the year so far.
Skin cancer is now one of the most common forms of cancers in the UK – and is still on the increase.
According to British Association of Dermatologists, more than 250,000 new cases of non-melanoma skin cancer – the most common type – get diagnosed each year.
Throughout Sun Awareness Week, the team will also be sharing their five top tips on staying sun safe on the NHS Trust’s twitter and Facebook accounts using the hashtag #staysunsafe.
• Wear at least factor 15 sunscreen or above whenever you are out in the sunshine
• Remember to apply sunscreen 30 minutes before you go out in the sun, and reapply it every couple of hours
• Check that your sunscreen is still in date
• Take regular breaks from the sun, and avoid sunbathing between 11am – 3pm when the sun is strongest
• Keep babies and young children under some shade at all times, as their skin is more sensitive to the sun.
Those at greatest risk of skin damage from the sun include people with fairer skin, people with lots of moles or freckles, those with a personal or family history of skin cancer, as well as babies and young children. However, nobody is exempt from potential harm.
Tina Davies Taylor, Cancer awareness lead for Liverpool Community Health explains:
“Whether you’re at home or abroad, you should use shade, clothing, sunglasses and regularly apply at least factor 15 sunscreen to help protect yourself from the risk of sunburn. Sunshine shouldn’t be avoided completely. In fact, we all need about 15 – 20 minutes in the sun a day to get Vitamin D which helps us produce strong healthy bones, but the skin should not go pink as this means that it has been exposed to too much ultra violet (UV) light. It’s important to remember that your skin does not have to be raw, peeling or blistering to be sunburnt. Even if your skin has just gone a little bit pink or red in the sun, it has still been damaged by too much sun, and over time this can lead to skin cancer.”
In addition, health staff are also keen to encourage people to regularly self-examine their skin to check for any changes that could be the early warning signs of skin cancer.
a skin growth or sores that won’t heal
a mole that grows or changes shape
a mole where the border or colour significantly changes
a mole or sore that itches, bleeds, crusts or scabs.
“The important thing is that if you do think you might have any of these signs or symptoms, you should visit your family doctor as soon as possible to check it out because spotting skin cancer early really can save your life.”