Monday, 3 May marks the start of Sun Awareness Week, organised by the British Association of Dermatologists, and UHDB have launched the #SunAwarenessWeek campaign to help raise awareness around sun protection and skin cancer.
Almost 9 in 10 cases of melanoma, the severest skin cancer type, could be prevented through enjoying the sun safely in the UK, as reported by Cancer Research.
We spoke to dermatologists across UHDB about sun awareness to understand the significance of sun safety.
Dr Tanya Bleiker, Consultant Dermatologist, said: “Data from the National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service has shown that overall melanoma fell by 28% from April to November 2020. This reduction in the number of skin cancers diagnosed during the pandemic is extremely worrying.
“We urge everyone to examine their skin regularly. If you see new or changing skin lesions see your GP, and don't delay or ignore the signs."
The Dermatology team have worked closely with this campaign to encourage early detection of skin cancer, which is the theme of this year’s campaign. Dr Jasmine Mann, Dermatology Registrar, said: “This campaign is an important opportunity to raise awareness of skin cancer, such as the dangers of sun exposure, the importance of sun protection and to encourage people to self-examine.
“There are practical ways to check your skin. We recommend looking into a mirror or getting someone to use their phone camera to keep an eye on moles every three to six months. This helps to monitor any difficult areas on the body.
“We suggest a minimum of SPF30+ between March and October as well as avoiding direct sun during peak UV ray hours, between 11am-12pm. When you cannot avoid the sun, wear long-sleeved clothing.”
Dr Maaz Abid, Skin Cancer Lead Consultant, also stresses the importance of self-examination. He said: “The best way to find skin cancer is to examine yourself regularly and seek advice if concerned or unsure. Skin cancers are highly treatable and curable if found early.”