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Brits bury their heads in the sand over UK’s most common cancer

A new Dermatology study has found that more than 77% of Brits would not recognise signs of skin cancer and 72% of Brits admit to being sunburned in the last year. The Dermatology survey results are of concern given that the risk of developing melanoma – the deadliest form of skin cancer – is more than doubled in people with a history of sunburn compared with people who have never been sunburned. The survey of over a thousand people was carried out by the British Association of Dermatologists and is being released in time for Sun Awareness Week 2015 (4th-10th May).

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the UK and rates have been climbing since the 1960s. Every year over 250,000 new cases of non-melanoma skin cancer – the most common type – are diagnosed, in addition to over 13,000 new cases of melanoma, resulting in around 2,148 deaths annually.

The British Association of Dermatologists surveyed 1,018 people over the summer of 2014 at national events across the country. The full survey results are as follows:

  • 84% are worried about skin cancer in the UK climate
  • 88% don’t think skin cancer is any easier to remove than other cancers
  • 95% know skin cancer rates in the UK are still rising
  • 40% never check their skin for signs of skin cancer; 36% check their skin infrequently; 6% once a year; 4% once a month and 6% four times a year.
  • 77% do not feel confident that they could recognise signs of a melanoma.
  • 81% do not feel confident that they could recognise signs of a non-melanoma skin cancer.
  • 72% of people have been sunburned in the past year.

Over the summer the British Association of Dermatologists will be visiting the following events with the “Be Sun Aware” roadshow:

  • Westfield, Shepherd’s Bush, 9th-10th May
  • BBC Gardeners’ World Live 2015, NEC Birmingham, 11th-14th June
  • New Forest County Show, Hampshire, 28th-30th July

Consultant Dermatologists from the British Association of Dermatologists and nurse volunteers will be on hand to speak to the public, educate them on how to check their skin for skin cancer and provide information on sun protection techniques. There will also be a UV photo-booth to demonstrate the effect of sun damage on the skin, giving the public the opportunity to upload their pictures to social media websites during the event.

You can find out more information about skin cancer here.

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