Thursday 20 June 2019

Soaking up the sun at lunchtime raises skin cancer risk

Five serious sunburns increase the risk of deadly skin cancer by 80pc. Stock photo: PA
Five serious sunburns increase the risk of deadly skin cancer by 80pc. Stock photo: PA
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

Office workers who dash to soak up lunchtime sun and suffer burned skin are increasing their risk of cancer, experts have warned.

Half of adults suffered sunburn in the last year as the country basked in record temperatures.

But five serious sunburns increase the risk of deadly skin cancer by 80pc.

The findings of a survey by the HSE's cancer service show that, despite the dangers, too many people are still exposing themselves to harmful rays and increasing their chance of developing skin cancer.

The nation's overindulgence emerged yesterday as Health Minister Simon Harris launched a new skin cancer prevention policy

It is the most common type of cancer in Ireland. More than 11,000 cases of skin cancer are diagnosed each year and the number of cases is projected to double by 2045.

"With half of all Irish adults getting sunburned last year, we need a radical rethink on how we think about the sun and tanning.

"What people really need to know is that most skin cancers could be prevented and the behaviours that we can adopt to protect our skin and our children's skin," said the HSE.

The survey of the nation's sun habits shows:

  • Sunscreen is the most commonly used sun protective behaviour, used by almost two-thirds of people.
  • Almost one in 10 respondents admitted they take no skin protection measures.
  • More than a third of men suffered sunburn while working outdoors, compared to a fifth of women.
  • Nearly one-third fried in the sun and got burned following outdoor sport or recreational activities.
  • Some 93pc agreed that protecting their skin would reduce their risk of cancer. But almost two-thirds feel that a suntan makes them feel more healthy.
  • More women than men think a suntan makes them feel more attractive.
  • Just over half of those surveyed agreed with the statement that "tanned skin is damaged skin".

Irish Independent

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