The Western Trust has issued a warning about the dangers of exposure to the sun and the use of sun beds amid concerns over rising skin cancer rates.
With temperatures having risen dramatically over recent weeks, the Trust’s Health Improvement Department has reminded local people during ‘Care in the Sun Week’.
Skin cancer is now the most common form of cancer in the north and accounts for one in four cancer cases. Since the late 1970s,melanoma rates have trebled among 15 to 34 year olds.
Along with binge tanning on foreign holidays, the use of sun beds is being seen by exerts as a primary cause.
Research shows that using a sun bed once a month or more can increase the risk of skin cancer by more than half. Sunburn in childhood is also believed to increase the risk of skin cancer in later life.
A Trust spokesperson said: “Many people in Northern Ireland are of the view that they don’t need to wear sun cream at home. However, UV rays can penetrate thin cloud and this can lead to burning; the more burnings a person gets the higher their risk of skin cancer.
“Despite our unpredictable weather in Northern Ireland we are still exposed to significant levels of UV rays.”
Local people are urged to wear sun cream factor 15 or above in the sun; wear a hat and sunglasses to protect your eyes; avoid sun beds and staying out of the midday sun.
Skin cancer can occur in places not normally exposed to the sun.
People are urged to be aware of any new spots, or existing spots that have changed colour, size or shape.
For more information visit: www.careinthesun.org