Sun Awareness Week: Survey Reveals Shocking Lack Of Skin Cancer Knowledge Among Brits

Research by the British Association of Dermatologists found that 75 per cent of Brits have been sunburnt in the past year – DOUBLING their chance of developing melanoma skin cancer


As the climate gets warmer here in the UK, it’s time to remind ourselves on the importance of sun protection.

Research conducted by the British Association of Dermatologists found that three quarters of Brits wouldn’t recognise the deadly signs of skin cancer.




And worse still, 72 per cent of respondents admitted they’d been sunburnt in the past year – but unbeknown to them, that’s DOUBLING their risk of deadly melanoma.

The study of more than 1,000 adults, conducted in conjunction with Sun Awareness Week which kicks off today, aims to educate Brits on the dangers of a lack of sun protection.




And it revealed that while 95 per cent of Brits knew that skin cancer was becoming more common, they seemed to be unaware of the link with sunburn.

Skin cancer causes 2,100 deaths in the UK per year and rates have been rising since the 1960s, at the start of the package holiday boom.

There are on average 250,000 new cases of the most common type of skin cancer (non-melanoma) per year, while there are 13,000 new cases of melanoma – the most deadly type.

It can develop from cancerous moles, and the risk of it developing is double in people with a history of sunburn.



“Almost three-quarters of people we surveyed admitted that they had been sunburned in the last year, which is shocking,” said Johnathon Major from the British Association of Dermatologists.

“With sunny days already making an appearance in parts of the UK, it is likely that this figure will remain high this year.

“This is a reflection of poor sun protection habits.

“People underestimate the damage that sunburn can do to their skin, and many think that skin reddening is just a harmless part of the tanning process, rather than a sure sign that you have damaged your skin irreparably.”

As reflected in Johnathon’s comment, the survey revealed 85 per cent of adults are worried about the impact of UK climate on skin cancer.



Suncream acts as a protective layer from these harmful rays, preventing radiation from damaging the skin, making SPF a year-round essential – yes, even in Blighty.

But you didn’t just hear it from us – the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends a minimum of SPF 15 every single day, even if you’re an office worker and only see the sun twice a day on your commute to work.

Skincare expert to Hollywood’s elite, Dr Howard Murad, agrees that daily SPF use is of utmost importance to protect skin against harmful UVB and UVA rays.


(In layman’s terms, UVB rays cause sunburn and UVA rays are the cause of skin cancer and premature ageing. An easy way of remembering it is UVB for Burning and UVA for Ageing).

“Wear your sunscreen all year round. Wearing broad-spectrum sunscreen every day regardless of the season will protect against the sun’s UVB and UVA rays,” he said.

“UVA rays are the same strength all year round and can penetrate through clouds and windows, contributing to collagen degradation and skin cancer.”



Not sure what level of sun protection you need in the UK? You should be wearing a minimum of SPF15 all year round – and SPF30 if you’re sitting outside in the sun.

Ultraviolet (UV) rays penetrate the skin on any given day, whether it’s cloudy, snowing or blisteringly hot.

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