West Lancashire Skin Cancer Rates Increasing

WEST Lancashire residents are being reminded how to stay safe in the sun by local NHS leaders, as rates of skin cancer diagnosis in the area increase.

The danger of the sun is easily underestimated so everyone is being urged to stay safe in the sun and how we can all look to protect ourselves from the harmful effects of the sun. This is especially important for those working outside.

In West Lancashire, more than 400 new cases of non-melanoma (more common types of skin cancer) are diagnosed each year, and within the UK, this is more than 100,000.

Overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) light (light which comes from the sun, as well as artificial tanning sunbeds) is the main cause of skin cancer, with other risks including a family history of skin cancer, pale skin that burns easily and a large number of moles/freckles.

Dr John Caine, West Lancashire GP and chair at NHS West Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Skin cancer is one of the most common cancers in the world.

“Between April 2018 and March 2019 there were 407 people in West Lancashire diagnosed with a form of skin cancer. This number shows a worrying increase in diagnosis each year.

“Our advice to residents is to be skin aware, make sure that you use a high factor sun cream when spending any time outdoors and to avoid exposure to the sun where possible during the periods of the day where the sun is at it’s strongest, which are typically from 11am to 3pm.

“If you notice something on your skin that looks unusual, such as a lump, a new mole or skin discolouration which hasn’t healed after four weeks, please seek advice from your GP”.

The following is advised in order to stay safe in the sun:

  • Clothing and hats are your first protection from the sun, especially when enjoying the water in the sunshine.  A wide brimmed hat will help keep your face and neck in the shade.
  • Sunglasses help to protect from UV rays
  • Wear a high factor sun cream and keep reapplying generously throughout the day
  • Spend the hottest parts of the day in the shade where possible, particularly if you have fair skin
  • Remember to protect your children with the right clothing, hats and sun cream
  • Drink plenty of fluids in the sunshine
  • If in doubt, check it out – if you spot changes to your moles, freckles or skin, please also seek professional help

For further information on skin cancer, it’s causes and what we can do to protect ourselves from the harmful effects of the sun search ‘skin cancer’ on www.nhs.uk or www.macmillan.org.uk.

Skin Cancer Awareness Month is every May.

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