Survey results released today from the Mole & Sun Advice Roadshow, organised by the British Association of Dermatologists and supported by La Roche-Posay, reveal that 92 per cent of those asked said they had experienced sunburn, and many had been burnt multiple times. The survey also found that 83 per cent of respondents agreed that the risks of skin cancer were not exaggerated, and yet 64 per cent (two-thirds) had never checked their skin for signs of cancer.
The release of the results marks the launch of the 2012 Mole & Sun Advice Roadshow, organised by the BAD, the UK’s leading skin cancer experts and supported by one of the UK’s leading dermatological sunscreen and skincare brands La Roche-Posay. This builds on four pilot events held in 2011, and is the UK’s biggest skin cancer awareness tour to date. Thousands of people across the UK will receive mole and sun-care advice from expert dermatologists and nurses, in addition to free sunscreen samples, at the eight major national events. One-to-one mole-check demonstrations will be provided free by dermatologists to teach people first-hand how to check their skin and what to be aware of.
Skin cancer incidence continues to rise in the UK and over 100,000 people are newly diagnosed with the disease every year.2 Malignant Melanoma, the most deadly form of the disease, is the fastest rising common cancer and causes over 2,000 deaths in the UK each year.2 Most cases are curable if detected early, but if diagnosis is delayed and the cancer spreads then your chances of surviving are greatly reduced. This is why the BAD and La Roche-Posay are urging more people to pay attention to their skin, as early detection really can be the difference between life and death.
Results from our survey at the 2011 pilot roadshow showed:
- Ignorance about skin changes is most prevalent among young people. Wakestock wakeboarding and music festival in North Wales had the youngest demographic out of the four events attended with 77 per cent of the festival goers aged between 16 and 29. Out of this group 85 per cent said they did not check their skin for cancer. There is a misconception that skin cancer is a disease only of the old. Whilst this may be so for some of the less serious non-melanoma skin cancers, the incidence of malignant melanoma is rising in young people aged 15 to 34 years old, making it the second most common cancer in this age-group.3
- The ages of the people advised to see their GP for diagnosis or referral of a suspected melanoma during last year’s roadshow confirmed the unusually young age distribution of melanoma. Alarmingly, out of the 11 people who were seen with a suspected melanoma, three were in their twenties (27 per cent) and a further three were in their thirties (27 per cent).
- People overestimate how well-adapted their skin is to UV exposure. Several of the volunteer dermatologists observed people often had more visible sun damage than they were aware of. Interestingly out of those who identified their skin type as ‘never burn, naturally dark skinned’ 41 per cent then admitted they had suffered sun burn, and 94 per cent of those who said their skin ‘burns minimally and always tans’ said they had been sunburnt at least once with 31 per cent recalling having been burnt more than 10 times. Part of the role of the 2012 roadshow is to get people to better understand what type of skin they have and how well it copes in the sun.
The 2012 Mole & Sun Advice Roadshow aims to make people aware of skin cancer risks and how to enjoy the sun safely. Through practical, face-to-face demonstrations and engagement with the public the BAD, with the support of sponsor La Roche-Posay, hopes to encourage people to check their skin, seek the appropriate form of UV sun protection, and go to their GP if they notice any changes to their skin.
Speaking in support of the roadshow MP Sian James, Chair of the Melanoma Taskforce said:
“As chair of the UK Melanoma Taskforce, I am delighted to join with the British Association of Dermatologists in promoting the 2012 Sun Awareness Campaign.
“We still see far too many cases of UV exposure with damaging long term heath effects. The message that we have to get out to young people in particular is that it’s cool to stay safe in the sun.”
President of the British Association of Dermatologists, Dr Stephen Jones said:
“Having attended two of the four pilot events last year I was surprised by just how many people showed an interest in the health of their skin. The receptiveness of the public to our messages demonstrated to me how extremely worthwhile and useful a roadshow of this kind can be.
“Whilst protecting your skin from being sun damaged in the first place is of course the best way to reduce your skin cancer risk, regrettably many people will still have got sunburnt at some point in their lives. Therefore, educating the public on how to check their skin is a priority– so that people know what to look out for if the prevention message comes too late.”
Managing Director of La Roche-Posay, Denis Donohoe, said:
“La Roche-Posay is delighted to be supporting the British Association of Dermatologists again with their Mole & Sun Advice Roadshow. We are dedicated to increasing the awareness and understanding of melanoma, including early detection and prevention. Our objective for our sunscreen range, Anthelios XL, is to help raise awareness of the need for protection and decrease the risks associated with exposure. We urge the public to speak to their local pharmacist to find a sunscreen that offers high UVA and UVB protection.”
The Mole & Sun Advice Roadshow will be attending the following events in 2012:
Windsor Horse Show – 9th to 13th May
Hertfordshire County Show – 2nd to 3rd June
Isle of Wight Festival – 22nd to 24th June
Royal International Air Tattoo, Gloucestershire – 7th to 8th July
Latitude Festival, Suffolk – 12th to 15th July
CLA Game Fair, Grantham – 20th to 22nd July
WOMAD Festival, Wiltshire – 27th to 29th July
Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Edinburgh (one weekend either 11th to 12th or 18th to 19th August)