This week the schools break for the summer, and despite some of the weather last weekend, we are all hopeful that there will be sunshine over the next six weeks.
As we all know, there are hidden dangers, and health professionals are encouraging everyone to be careful in the sun.
According to figures from Cancer Research UK, there were around 14,500 new cases of malignant melanomas in the UK.
Malignant melanoma accounts for four per cent of all new cases in the UK and it is the fifth most common cancer in the UK.
Sadly it’s becoming more common in the UK over time, thought to be caused by increased exposure to UV light from the sun and sunbeds.
Most skin cancer is caused by ultraviolet (UV) light damaging the DNA in skin cells and the main source of UV light is sunlight.
It is fantastic to be outdoors in the sunshine, especially after a long, cold winter, but we all need to realise that the sun can be powerful no matter what time of the year.
Artificial sources of light, such as sunlamps and tanning beds, can also increase your risk of developing skin cancer.
The most common sign of skin cancer is a change to a mole, freckle or normal patch of skin.
It’s important to be aware that there are other signs of skin cancer too.
A melanoma can grow anywhere on the body, but the back, legs, arms and face are most commonly affected.
In most cases, melanomas have an irregular shape and more than one colour.
They may also be larger than normal moles and can sometimes be itchy or bleed.
Not all skin cancers are melanoma, 90 per cent of cases treated for non-melanoma skin cancer is completed successfully.
If you notice any change to your moles or changes with your skin please go and see your GP.
We want everyone to enjoy the summer and have a good time in the sun.
You can protect yourself from serious damage by taking some simple steps – use factor 30 or higher sunscreen, spend time in the shade between 11am and 3pm, cover up with a T-shirt, hat and sunglasses, and particularly take extra care of children’s skin and make sure they are protected.
Find out more online: www.nhs.uk/livewell/skin/pages/sunsafe.aspx
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