People living in the Surrey Heartlands area (incorporating Guildford and Waverley, North West Surrey and Surrey Downs) are being urged to protect themselves against the sun to reduce the risk of skin cancer.
Figures show that Surrey Heartlands is significantly above the national average for incidences of malignant melanoma – a type of skin cancer - with 34.2 cases per 100,000 people in Guildford and Waverley CCG; 32 cases per 100,000 in Surrey Downs CCG and 21.7 cases per 100,000 in North West Surrey CCG.
Health experts recommend following these tips to stay safe in the sun:
- use at least SPF 15 and at least 4-star UVA sunscreen and reapply every few hours
- apply sunscreen 30 minutes before you go out
- spend time in the shade between 11am and 3pm
- avoid getting sunburn
- cover up with suitable clothing and sunglasses (ensure CE mark)
- wear a wide-brimmed hat that shades the face, neck and ears
- take extra care with children and older people.
Most skin moles are harmless but it’s important to look out for any changes. People are advised to get a new or existing mole checked out if it:
- changes shape or looks uneven
- changes colour, gets darker or has more than two colours
- starts itching, crusting, flaking or bleeding
- gets larger or more raised from the skin.
Dr Ruchika Gupta, a local Surrey GP, said “We’re urging people to be more aware of the dangers of sunburn - while it’s usually mild and short-lived, it's important to try to avoid it because it can increase your risk of developing skin problems in later life, including cancer.”
Mild sunburn can usually be treated at home to help relieve symptoms until skin heals, without the need to visit a GP. The NHS recommends having a cold bath or shower to cool down the skin, or holding a cold flannel against it. Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration and apply soothing lotions to moisturise the skin.
Anyone who feels unwell or concerned about their sunburn, particularly if the skin is blistering or swollen should call NHS 111 or visit their local community pharmacy for over the counter remedies.