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Cancer Research UK issues school holiday warning

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by Cancer Research UK | News

18 July 2003

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WITH schools breaking up for summer, and this weekend set to be the busiest of the year for Brits setting off on holiday*, Cancer Research UK’s SunSmart campaign is warning parents to take care of the whole family’s skin in the sun by following five simple steps.

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the UK, with over 65,000 cases reported every year, and the number is increasing. However, most cases could be prevented by protecting skin from the sun’s damaging rays.

Sara Hiom, co-ordinator of Cancer Research UK’s SunSmart campaign, says: “Summer holidays are an exciting time for children. However, it’s estimated that as much as 80 per cent of our exposure to the sun takes place in childhood and adolescence. With that in mind, parents need to ensure that, as well as protecting their own skin, they are particularly careful about their children. They should also keep an eye on teenagers too, who have been known to swap the factor 15 for factor 4.

“Burning can greatly increase your risk of skin cancer in later life, and with the sunshine that we have been experiencing recently in the UK, parents also need to protect their families at home as they would abroad.”

Sunscreen does not offer total protection from the sun’s rays and should be just one part of your sun protection routine. The five SunSmart steps are:

  • Stay in the shade between 11am-3pm – the sun is the most dangerous in the middle of the day so find shade under umbrellas, trees, canopies or indoors.
  • Make sure you never burn – sunburn can double your risk of skin cancer.
  • Always cover up with a T-shirt, wide brimmed hat and sunglasses
  • Remember to take extra care with children – young skin is delicate, keep babies out of the sun completely.
  • Then use factor 15 plus sunscreen – apply sunscreen generously 15-30 minutes before you go outside (it doesn’t work immediately) and reapply often.

Also report any mole changes or unusual skin growths promptly to your GP.

SunSmart is co-ordinated by Cancer Research UK with funding from the UK Health Departments. For more information visit the SunSmart website


For further media information contact the Cancer Research UK Press Office on 020 7061 8320 or, out of hours, the Duty Press Officer on 07050 264059

* Source: ABTA

The SunSmart campaign is supported by:

The UV Health Promotion Group whose members include the British Association of Dermatologists, National Radiological Protection Board, Skin Care Campaign, Wessex Cancer Trust, Health and Safety Executive and Guide Dogs for the Blind. Also backing the campaign are NIVEA Sun, Lloydspharmacy and Craghoppers Ltd.