Skin cancer is a growing problem in the UK. Help us change this.
Put bluntly, skin cancer is not a disease that only affects the elderly; in fact more than two 15-34 year olds are diagnosed with malignant melanoma every day in the UK.
Over 100,000 new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed each year in the UK, over 10,000 of which will be malignant melanoma, the deadliest form of the disease. Whilst we are getting better at spotting the signs of skin cancer, there is clearly a long way to go. On average, someone who dies from skin cancer typically loses 20 years of their life.
There are three types of skin cancer: malignant melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and basal cell carcinoma (BCC). Cases of melanoma are rising faster than any other type of deadly cancer. You can read more about the types of skin cancer below:
Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Basal Cell Carcinoma
Skin cancer is a largely preventable disease, so here are a few tips on how to stay safe in the sun:
Clothing should always be your first line of defence against damage from the sun, with sunscreen being used in addition to clothes, seeking shade, wearing a broad-brimmed hat and a pair of UV-protective sunglasses.
Find the right sunscreen
Use a sunscreen of SPF30 (SPF stands for ‘Sun Protection Factor’) and refers to the level of protection against UVB radiation, linked to skin cancer. Look for a four or ideally five star UVA rating on the bottle which will help protect from UVA radiation, associated with skin ageing. You may also find that the UVA rating is represented by the letters ‘UVA’ inside a circle. Keep babies and toddlers should be kept out of direct sunlight.
Get your timing right
Skin needs time to absorb sunscreen, so apply generously about 20 to 30 minutes before going out. Reapply frequently at least every two hours, as it can come off when sweating or through rubbing.
The sun tends to be strongest in the middle of the day, so find some shade typically between 11am and 3pm, especially if you are very fair skinned. Just 10 minutes of strong sunshine is all it takes to burn pale skin.
Please support our Skin Cancer Appeal which aims to raise money purely for skin cancer research. Find out more.