North West Hampshire MP George Young inspects a Ultra Violet Index Weather map at a special Molewatch clinic organised by Cancer Research UK yesterday at Westminster.
The clinic, staffed by dermatologists and specialist skin cancer nurses, was held to promote skin cancer awareness and the importance of being SunSmart this summer. TV weather presenter Sian Lloyd was also on hand to stress the importance of checking the UV Index this summer.
Sir George said: “This summer it is important to be safe in the sun and pay attention to the UV Index, which describes the strength of UV radiation. On a clear summer’s day the UV Index may reach 7 at around midday. It is vital that people know their risk, and the Index is a useful measure of when protection is advisable for your skin type.
“Sunburn can double your risk of skin cancer, so it is especially important to avoid sunburn. I do urge my constituents to speak to their GP if they have concerns about a particular mole, freckle or patch of skin that has changed over a period of weeks.”
Recent research* for Cancer Research UK’s SunSmart campaign found that 70 per cent of Britons did not know what the UV Index was, despite its appearance on TV weather forecasts and websites in summer. The Met Office now offers a five day forecast of the UV Index at www.met-office.gov.uk and it also appears in newspaper weather forecasts.
Cancer Research UK’s SunSmart manager, Genevieve Frisby, said: “This year’s SunSmart campaign is encouraging people to be more aware of the strength of the sun on different days and what this means for their skin type. Fair skinned people can burn in as little as10 minutes when the UV Index is seven and it is important they take extra care when the UV Index is high. With more than 73,000 new cases of skin cancer registered each year and rising, it is crucial that people know when to cover up.
“This year, we’re particularly encouraging men and people who work outdoors to be extra vigilant. Ask partners or friends to check out your backs, as this is a common site for skin cancer in susceptible males.”
Sian Lloyd, one of Britain’s top weather presenters, said: “I’ve got Type One skin and I know how important it is for very fair people like me to protect themselves. Checking the UV Index on the weather forecast in the summer is an easy way to know what to prepare for during the hours of 11am -3pm – whether to pack the sunhat and make the most of any shade.”
To find out more about skin cancer and how to protect yourself in the sun, visit www.sunsmart.org.uk or call Cancer Research UK’s cancer information nurses on 020 7061 8355. If you notice changes in size, shape or colour of any moles, freckles or patches of previously normal skin you should book an appointment with your GP without delay.
Notes to Editors:
For media inquiries please call Cancer Research UK’s Public Affairs Team on 020 7061 8360 or e-mail email@example.com.
*Survey conducted by NOP on behalf of Boots between the dates 29th April and 1st May 2005, over the telephone among 1000 adults aged 15+. Results were weighted in order to make them nationally representative.
Check the UV index:
The UV index is a way of describing the strength of the UV radiation from the sun. The higher the value, the greater the danger from the sun and the less time it takes to damage your skin. It is a more accurate indication of the potential for sunburn than the temperatures forecast each day.
On a clear summer’s day in the UK, the UV index may reach 7 around midday. Between October and March, the UV index is normally lower than 3 in this country, so even people with fair skin do not need to protect themselves.
This table outlines each of the six skin types by their burn risk and a description of their hair and eye colour. Knowing your skin type will help you work out when you need to protect depending on the UV index forecast for the day. For example people with Skin Types I and II – very common in the UK – need to follow the SunSmart code when the UV index is 3 or higher
Skin type Do you burn in the sun? Do you tan after being in the sun? Description of people with this skin type UV index forecast
when you need to follow the SunSmart Code:
I Often Rarely Tends to have freckles, red or fair hair, blue or green eyes. UV index 3 and higher
II Usually Sometimes Tends to have light hair, blue or brown eyes. UV index 3 and higher
III Sometimes Usually Tends to have brown hair and eyes. UV index 5 and higher
IV Rarely Often Tends to have dark brown eyes and hair. UV index 5 and higher
V Naturally brown skin Often has dark brown eyes and hair. UV index 6 and higher
VI Naturally brown-black skin Usually has black-brown eyes and hair. UV index 7 and higher
You can check today’s UV index forecast for different parts of the UK and Europe at the Met Office website: www.met-office.gov.uk
Be SunSmart in the Summer Sun:
The SunSmart campaign, now in it’s fourth year, is the UK’s national skin cancer prevention campaign run by Cancer Research UK and funded by the UK Health Departments. Those most at risk are people with fair skin, lots of moles or freckles or a family history of skin cancer. Know your skin type and use the UV Index to find out when you need to protect yourself.
The SunSmart messages are:
Spend time in the shade between 11 and 3
The summer sun is most damaging to your skin in the middle of the day.
Make sure you never burn
Sunburn can double your risk of skin cancer.
Aim to cover up with a t-shirt, hat and sunglasses
When the sun is at its peak sunscreen is not enough.
Remember to take extra care with children
Young skin is delicate. Keep babies out of the sun especially around midday.
Then use factor 15+ sunscreen
Apply sunscreen generously and reapply often.
Report mole changes or unusual skin growths promptly to your doctor.
Cancer Research UK’s SunSmart Campaign is funded by UK Health Departments and launched in March 2003. Members of its advisory board include representatives of the National Radiological Protection Board, British Association of Dermatologists, International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection, EUROSKIN, UK Skin Cancer Working Party, British Photodermatology Group, Wessex Cancer Trust and, more recently, independent experts on vitamin D and nutrition. Boots is supporting the SunSmart Campaign by selling SunSmart pin badges and providing SunSmart information in-store.
Skin cancer statistics
Nine out of ten skin cancers are easily treatable and unlikely to spread. They are called non-melanoma skin cancer and there are more than 73,000 new cases diagnosed each year in the UK.
Malignant melanoma, which accounts for less than one in ten skin cancers, is the most serious type of the disease and may be fatal. It is more common in women than men, but more men than women die from it
Around 8,000 people a year in the UK are diagnosed with malignant melanoma. It usually develops in cells in the outer layer of the skin but can spread to other parts of the body. Around 1,800 people die from malignant melanoma in the UK each year
Melanoma is the second most common cancer among people aged 20 – 39 and early detection is crucial for successful treatment. Research indicates that sunburn in childhood can double the risk of melanoma in later life.
Cancer Research UK
• Together with its partners and supporters, Cancer Research UK's vision is to beat cancer.
• Cancer Research UK carries out world-class research to improve understanding of the disease and find out how to prevent, diagnose and treat different kinds of cancer.
• Cancer Research UK ensures that its findings are used to improve the lives of all cancer patients.
• Cancer Research UK helps people to understand cancer, the progress that is being made and the choices each person can make.
• Cancer Research UK works in partnership with others to achieve the greatest impact in the global fight against cancer.
For further information about Cancer Research UK's work or to find out how to support the charity, please call 08701 602040 or visit www.cancerresearchuk.org.uk.