Tuesday 15th July 2014

UK

We questioned young people on their behaviour in the sun and knowledge about sunbathing, sunbeds and suncream for its annual sun safety campaign, Shunburn. Almost one fifth (18%) of this age group have been sunburnt more than ten times in their short lifetime. A further 13% admitted to never applying suncream and over two thirds (68%) would not think to apply suncream on a cloudy, summer’s day.

Over a quarter (26%) questioned did not realise it is illegal for under-18s to use sunbeds. However a third (35 per cent) did understand that the rays released from sunbeds can be around ten times stronger than the midday sun.

Over the last 30 years, incidences of malignant melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, have risen faster than any of the current top ten cancers. Around 37 people are diagnosed every day in the UK, a total of 13,300 a year. In the 15 to 24 age group it is the third most common cancer in females and the sixth most common in males across the UK.

In England, malignant melanoma has increased by 78% in males and 48% in females across all ages since 2003. In Scotland malignant melanoma is the fastest growing cancer across all ages, having increased by almost 37% over the last 10 years. In Wales, cases of malignant melanoma in 13-24 year olds have increased by 46% since 2008-10. In Northern Ireland, cases of malignant melanoma in 13-24 year olds have increased by 20% since 2008-10 .

Nigel Revell, Director of Education at Teenage Cancer Trust said:

It’s always disappointing to reveal findings like we have today. We’ve been working hard through our free cancer awareness sessions in schools, colleges and universities to get the message across that burning your skin when young can double the risk of developing skin cancer in later life . However we can’t do this on our own. We need more support from teachers, parents and the government, to make sure young people are educated about the dangers of the sun and sunbed use, so they know how to protect themselves during this hot summer and for the rest of their lives.

Free sun safety sessions

Teenage Cancer Trust supports secondary schools, colleges, universities, clubs and societies across the UK by offering free cancer awareness sessions, which includes free sun safety presentations courtesy of our Shunburn campaign.