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North West Cancer Research is urging people to “Block the Sun, Not the Fun”

1 day ago

North West Cancer Research is urging people to “Block the Sun, Not the Fun”

North West Cancer Research is rallying children across the region to remind grown-ups to stay safe in the sun…both at home and abroad.

Launched on 5 June, Block the Sun, Not the Fun calls on people to ensure they apply sunscreen even when staying in the North West, to help reduce their risk of developing skin cancer.

The campaign highlights how those living in the North West are 13% more likely to be diagnosed with the condition, when compared with the rest of England.

Through in-depth interviews, North West Cancer Research has found that parents in the region are not as stringent with their own sun safety measures as they are with their children’s – leaving them exposed to the risks of skin cancer.

So, as part of its rallying call to encourage everyone – regardless of age – to wear sunscreen, North West Cancer Research has created a special ‘news report’ featuring children from across the region, urging adults to remember to protect themselves as well as their little ones.

Among those backing the campaign is mum-of-two Martina Franey, who was diagnosed with non-melanoma skin cancer in 2020, after noticing a small, itchy lesion on her back.

She was quickly diagnosed with Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC), which is the most common form of skin cancer.  

Martina, 54, from Wirral, said:

“Growing up in the 1970s and 80s, it was almost the norm to get sunburnt which we believed would then create a ‘base’ for your tan. Of course, we now know just how harmful this is but, back then, there was very little awareness of wearing sunscreen to protect ourselves.

“Even when my children were younger, I would be super vigilant in covering them up and making sure they weren’t exposed too much to the sun, but would often forget about myself, especially when at home in this country.

“Having had non-melanoma skin cancer has highlighted just how important it is to wear sunscreen daily, whether it’s sunny or cloudy. Luckily, my condition was treatable but I know how much worse it could have been and I now want to ensure I’m protecting myself for the future and preventing any further diagnoses.”

In the North West, Liverpool records the region’s highest rates of skin cancer, with those living there 35% more likely to be diagnosed than people living across the rest of England. 

Cumbria also experiences above-average rates, with reported cases at a rate 33% higher than those recorded nationally. Cheshire has rates of 32% and Lancashire’s skin cancer rates are 15% higher than the rest of England. 

Block the Sun, Not the Fun encourages everyone to wear a sunscreen of at least SPF30 and reapply it regularly, even on cloudy days.

The campaign also highlights the importance of limiting time in the sun between 10am and 3pm and wearing a sunhat and sunglasses.

Sarah Allinson, skin cancer specialist and professor of cancer biology at Lancaster University, said:

“Skin cancer – in all its forms – should be taken seriously and we should therefore take the necessary steps to reduce our risk.

“Despite many of us having a greater awareness of how harmful the sun’s rays can be, there’s still a common misconception that sunscreen and other protective measures aren’t as important when at home in the UK.

“But we must remember that, even when it doesn’t feel very warm, our skin can still be damaged which can lead to skin cancer in later life. 

“It’s a good idea to get into the habit of checking the UV index in weather reports and to use sun protection whenever the index is at three or above. This is particularly important if you have a lighter skin tone and a tendency to burn.

“However, skin cancer can occur in any skin type and we should all take steps to protect ourselves.”

There are two types of skin cancer – melanoma and non-melanoma. Both types are more common in older people, although melanoma has a higher percentage of younger people being diagnosed. 

Common symptoms include moles changing in shape or size or new ones appearing.  

Non-melanoma skin cancer is usually associated with those who spend a lot of time in the sun and is most commonly recognised by a lump or discoloured patch of skin that doesn’t disappear and slowly progresses over months or years. 

Find more information about the North West Cancer Research Campaign here.

Find all the latest Liverpool news here.

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