Michael Fabricant says “As summer approaches, it is so important to protect yourself against skin cancer. With melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer, on the increase, it is more important than ever to use a 30+ sun protection factor sunscreen – even here in the midlands. In research undertaken for the charity Melanoma Focus, 32% of Brits say they rarely or never use sunscreen when in the UK and only 11% say that they always use it. At this time of year, the sun can be dangerously strong in places like Lichfield too.
“Having had melanoma myself, I know the importance of using sunscreens and catching skin cancer early. It’s so important to know your skin and contact your GP if you spot any change.
“Male respondents to the survey were particularly reluctant to use sunscreen, with 40% saying they rarely or never use it in the UK and only 8% reporting always using it. When asked why they don’t use sunscreen the majority (39%) said it’s because they don’t expect to burn. This is despite 52% of all respondents reporting that they got sunburned at least once per year, rising to 71% for 26-35 year olds.”
Professor Catherine Harwood, Consultant Dermatologist at Barts Health and Trustee at Melanoma Focus, says: “The survey results clearly show that many people in the UK don’t always appreciate how dangerous sunburn can be. Sun exposure, particularly when young, can cause permanent DNA damage in the skin making it more likely for skin cancers like melanoma to develop.
“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.
“Sunbeds or tanning beds are also a serious issue as they emit a type of ultraviolet (UV) radiation that can damage the DNA of skin cells, leading to an increased risk of skin cancer. Additionally, people who use tanning beds are more likely to get sunburns, which can further damage the skin.”
Melanoma Focus say “Melanoma skin cancer is a serious and potentially fatal condition, yet people in the UK are often ignoring the dangers posed by prolonged exposure to the UV rays.
“Melanoma skin cancer is becoming more common in the UK, with around 16,700 new cases every year. Recent research has shown that there has been a huge increase in the number of people in the UK being diagnosed with melanoma, despite efforts to educate the public on the risks. Over the last decade, melanoma skin cancer incidence rates have increased by around a third (32%) in the UK. Rates in females have increased by more than a quarter (27%), and rates in males have increased by almost two-fifths (38%). It is expected to continue to rise.”
Photo shows Michael with Luke Thomas of Melanoma Focus at a recent meeting in the House of Commons.