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Sunbathers openly admit they are damaging their health

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by Cancer Research UK | News

4 August 2007

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Hardcore sunbathers who plan to get burnt on the beach this summer will do so in the full knowledge that they are permanently damaging their skin – according to a survey* commissioned by Cancer Research UK.

In the survey of almost 400 sunbathers who said they were certain to burn, 90 per cent acknowledged that  sunburn causes permanent skin damage.

The self-styled tanorexics who stop at nothing to get a holiday tan are also doubling their risk of skin cancer** – says the charity.

The survey also revealed that 40 per cent of those sunbathers prepared to risk their long term health to come home with damaged skin believed that getting sunburnt was all part of the tanning process.

Professor Lesley Rhodes, a Cancer Research UK dermatologist, said: “Getting sunburnt increases the risk of skin cancer in general. But the kind of sunbathing binges that happen when people go to much hotter climates and bake on the beach is particularly dangerous.

“This kind of short intense exposure to the sun, leading to burning, particularly increases the risk of malignant melanoma. And each year in Britain almost 2000 people die from this form of skin cancer.”

Cancer Research UK’s SunSmart campaign manager Rebecca Russell also warned holiday-makers that sunbed sessions aimed at a pre-holiday base tan could be just as dangerous as getting sunburnt.

She said: “We know that sunbeds increase the risk of skin cancer. Anyone under 18 should never go on a sunbed. Nor should any adult with fair skin, lots of moles and freckles or a history of skin cancer.

“Holiday-makers can enjoy the sun safely by making sure they do not burn, spending time in the shade, covering up with loose long-sleeved clothing, a hat and sunglasses and using factor 15 + sunscreen.”


For media enquries contact the Cancer Research UK press office on 020 7061 8300, or the out of hours duty press officer on 07050 264 059.