Word on Health

Word on Skin Cancer/Sun Awareness

Our grateful thanks to Dr Bav Shergill from the British Association of Dermatologists for his contribution to our radio report which you can hear agaiin via the audio player at the bottom of this page. Click here to access the  British Association of Dermatologists Sun Awareness web pages 

Skin Cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the UKyet the majority of cases could be prevented. Over the last few decades the incidence of skin cancer has increased dramatically. 

Over 80% of skin cancers are caused by overexposure to UV radiation. This includes UV rays from the sun, but also from sunbeds and tanning lamps. UV radiation damages DNA in your skin cells, which can accumulate over time and increase the risk of genetic mutations that cause skin cancer.

What Is UV? Ultraviolet Radiation (UV) consists of the short, invisible rays from the sun that reach the earth's surface. The sun's rays contain three bands of UV: UVA, UVB and UVC. (UVC rays are absorbed by the upper atmosphere and do not reach the earth's surface - it's UVA & UVB we need to ensure we are protected against).

If the most deadly form of skin cancer, malignant melanoma, is caught in its early stages the majority of cases can be cured. However if it is not found until later, when it has spread, it is much more difficult to treat and the survival rate after 5 years is less than 5%."

  • SAFE Checklist
    Whether you are in the UK or abroad, protect your skin by:
  • Covering up in the sun and staying in the shade when the sun is at its strongest, between 11am and 3pm avoiding long periods of exposure to the sun
  • Wear factor 30+ sunscreen
  • Take extra care with children and if you have fair skin
  • Regularly check your skin new sores and lumps that do not heal after a month
  • Spots or sores that bleed, itch, develop a crust or hurt
  • Unexplained skin ulcers
  • New or existing moles which appear to be growing or changing shape
  • New or existing moles which are a range of shades of brown and black
  • New or existing moles which are larger than 6mm in diameter
  • New or existing moles which have jagged edges

Visit your GP immediately if you notice any unusual changes to your skin or moles

Our Eyes & The Sun: Prolonged or improper exposure to sun rays can cause damage to the eyes, as well as damage to the skin.

UVB radiation threatens the outside portions of the eye: the cornea, conjunctiva and crystalline lens, causing irritation, dryness, inflammation (keratitis) and precocious ageing (photo-ageing). UVA radiation is the most harmful to both the skin and eyes because the rays are shorter and able to penetrate furthest into the eye, damaging the retina.

The use of protective sunglasses that can screen UV rays should begin during childhood. By minimizing the exposure to solar radiation, it is possible to prevent the damage to ocular tissues and delay the development of ultraviolet-related eye diseases.


Choosing The Right Sunglasses?  First of all check that the sunglasses carry the CE mark.  The best sunglasses providing optimum protection are ‘wrap arounds’. You want a lens that is dark enough to protect against glare and be comfortable in bright light, yet not so dark that it compromises your vision in low-level light situations.

Listen to this weeks radio report

All material on this website is provided for your information only and may not be construed as medical advice or instruction. No action or inaction should be taken based solely on the contents of this information; instead, readers should consult appropriate health professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being.