Safety in the sun

23rd August 2019

Safety in the sun

It’s bank holiday weekend and the weather forecast is looking good.

It’s no secret that the warmer weather has a drastic impact on our mood but spending time in the sun is not without its dangers. It is important to recognise the risks of sun damage and to learn how to protect you and your family from harm.

While many of us have experienced the unpleasant effects of sunburn or sunstroke, most of us fail to seriously consider the risk of skin cancer. Getting sunburnt just once every 2 years can treble your risk of melanoma skin cancer. In the UK almost 9 in 10 cases of melanoma (the most serious type of skin cancer), could be prevented through safe enjoyment of the sun and avoiding sunbeds.

How is skin cancer caused? Skin cancer is caused when too much ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun damages the DNA in your skin cells. There are two types of skin cancer: melanoma and non-melanoma. Non melanoma skin cancers are far more common than melanoma skin cancers but often require surgical intervention.

How do I keep safe in the sun? Clothing that covers as much skin as possible is preferable to sun cream alone; pay particular attention to your shoulders and wear a hat and sunglasses to protect your face, scalp, neck and eyes. You should always use sun cream on exposed areas of skin and reapply often. Experts advise opting for a sun cream of at least SPF 30 (or 50 for children and those with sensitive skin) with a high UVA protection. If you notice your skin becoming pink or red, you should find some shade and cover up.

When should I see my GP? You should check your skin for changing moles or new marks about once a month. See your GP if moles have any of the following features: growing size, changing shape, developing new colours, bleeding, pain, crusting, red around the edges or itching. You should also keep a close eye on scabs that won’t heal or any unusual flesh coloured bumps. Your GP may refer you to a specialist NHS Consultant Dermatologist for a second opinion. The specialist will examine the affected area and may take a biopsy to confirm a diagnosis of skin cancer.

Most skin cancers can be cured if they are detected early. If you have been diagnosed with skin cancer and have concerns about the treatment you have received, please contact Jenny Tetlow of the clinical negligence team at Higgs & Sons Solicitors on 0345 111 5050


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