Be sensible and make sure you enjoy the sun safely

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With skin cancer cases on the rise, NHS Tayside is urging people to enjoy the sun safely and take care of their skin this summer.

Whether you are staying at home this summer or jetting off to sunnier climes, it is important to look after your skin. Skin cancer is the most common type in the UK and figures in Tayside are higher than other parts of the country with a steady increase year-on-year.

There are two main types of skin cancer – melanoma and keratinocytic cancer. Most skin cancer is curable, however, more advanced melanoma and some keratinocytic cancers can spread. There were around 170 new cases of malignant melanoma in Tayside in 2014 and around 1800 keratinocytic cancers.

Research has found that six out of 10 men and four out of 10 women never use sunscreen or cover-up during sunny periods in the UK. The sun doesn’t need to feel hot to damage your skin and it can be just as damaging here as it is abroad.

Those looking after children should also remember that young skin is delicate and very easily damaged by the sun. Young people are more vulnerable to the effects of sunlight and if children get burnt, it increases the risk of skin cancer later in life.

Consultant dermatologist Dr Andrew Affleck said: “People with suspected skin cancers should be seen as soon as possible, especially suspected melanoma as this can be cured if it is treated before it spreads. However, prevention is better than cure and sensible sun protection measures are important, as well as checking your skin every so often for any changes.

“Most skin cancers are curable but every year there are deaths, so with the summer approaching we should all be sun aware.”

Here are a few practical tips to keep you and your children safe in the sun: Seek shade when the sun is hottest – usually between 11am and 3pm; Cover up and wear a hat; Use a high-factor sunscreen; Take care not to burn - don’t be fooled by a cool breeze; Drink plenty to avoid dehydration.