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Cold comfort for sunbathers as poll says we’re blind to burn risks

NEARLY half of us don't realise that UV rays can cause damage to their skin through glass such as a window.

New research has compared our sun safety behaviour to Australians who are known for being sun-savvy.

It found that almost twice as many Australians wear sun cream with an SPF of 30 or higher.

glass

In addition, more than three quarters of Australians are aware that UV can cause damage to their skin through glass such as a window, compared to just 56pc of Irish people.

The research also revealed that two thirds of those living Down Under recognise that UV can damage skin while under water, compared with just over half of people living here.

Clare O'Connor, a Boots sun care expert which commissioned the research said that: "Though Ireland has far less sunshine than Australia, the sun's UV rays can still penetrate through cloud cover, and as most people in Ireland only think about UV protection when the sun is shining, they may be at higher risk of UV damage."

Meanwhile, Rosemary Scott, a health protection officer at the Irish Cancer Society said: "Skin cancer is not seem by many as an issue in this country, but this is far from the truth. It is our most common cancer."

The recent SunSmart campaign run by the charity revealed that skin cancer reached over 10,000 cases annually, an increase of 81pc since 1994.

John Breen (38), a dad-of-two from Tramore in Co Waterford was diagnosed with melanoma in February 2009, and urges anyone with concerns about moles go get them checked.

"I never liked the sun. I would have avoided it and used sun cream a lot," he said.

In 2012, tests showed the melanoma had spread into his body so he began chemotherapy which he finished in December that year.

His scans since then have showed the cancer is gone. "I feel very good," he said.

fdillon@herald.ie


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