Sunscreen advice ignored despite increased awareness of cancer

By Louise Prance

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Skin cancer Ultraviolet Sunscreen

A new survey has revealed that despite more UK consumers being
worried about skin cancer than a decade ago, they are still slow on
the uptake of protective sunscreens as a preventative measure
against harmful UVA and UVB rays.

Over 2,000 people were questioned in a research poll by the Institute of Cancer's SAFE campaign regarding their knowledge of skin cancer, and the actions they take to avoid the disease - with the research showing that despite increased awareness, more action is needed to encourage consumers to apply sunscreens. The research states that over a third (35 per cent) of the 60 per cent questioned do not use sunscreen when exposed to the sun - greatly increasing their chances of skin cancer, of which more than 75,000 new cases are diagnosed in the UK alone each year. "These results reflect the fact that people are deeply concerned about skin cancer, but that many people still do not know how to look after their skin. The number of people getting skin cancer is rising dramatically, so it is vitally important that everyone is aware of how to protect themselves from the harmful rays of the sun,"​ said Professor Richard Marais from The Institute of Cancer Research."Most cases of skin cancer can be avoided, and if caught early enough the disease can be treated. That is why everyone should know the signs and symptoms of the disease and visit their doctor immediately if in any doubt."​According to the research data the incidence of melanoma cancer is expected to treble in the next 30 years, with climate change set to heighten the problem - posing an increased need for sunscreen manufacturers to work closely with campaigns such as SAFE to educate consumers on the dangers of being in the sun unprotected. Indeed, the survey stated that over 80 per cent of respondents believe that more should be done to educate people about the dangers of skin cancer, as only just over half (52 per cent) are aware of the signs and symptoms of the disease. The growing need for consumer awareness has not gone unnoticed by the European Commission, which has started an information initiative this week that requires sunscreen manufacturers to amend all sunscreen labels by next summer. Due to be phased in this summer, the new sunscreen-labelling regime is set to abolish any claims of 'total protection' or complete 'sun block' on products, with the EC claiming that even the high SPF products let some UV radiation through. The EC claims that providing a clearer label format for sunscreen products will help put an end to consumer confusion and help reduce the risk of skin cancer, that kills over 3000 people a day in the EU. All sunscreen manufacturers have until the end of next summer to ensure product lines state whether they provide low, medium, high or very high protection, whilst giving the SPF against UVB rays.

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