More people need to be aware of the dangers of skin cancer, Health Secretary Sajid Javid exclusively told Express.co.uk as he urged the public to remain vigilant this summer, and to regularly check themselves for any new moles or marks. About 156,000 new cases of non-melanona skin cancer are spotted each year in the UK – although the World Health Organization warned cases could double within 20 years.
And Mr Javid is warning Brits to be cautious when out in the sunshine over the May half term and Platinum Jubilee weekend.
Issuing a direct warning to Express.co.uk readers, he said: “With the sun shining and millions of us jetting off on holiday this summer, it’s important that British holidaymakers stay safe and protect themselves from the sun’s harmful rays and the risks of skin cancer.
“More people need to realise that non-melanoma skin cancers are some of the most common in the world – with men almost twice as likely to die than women – but they are also easy to avoid.”
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Skin cancer is most commonly caused by the sun’s ultraviolet light chemically altering the make-up of cells. But about 90 percent of all cases are preventable, it’s been claimed.
And staying out of the sun for long periods of time, or during the midday sun, can help.
Repeated sunburn makes the skin more vulnerable to sun damage, and subsequently non-melanoma skin cancer. So the easiest way to lower your risk is to simply stay out of the sun, or to use a high-factor suncream.
“You can take action to protect yourself by covering up in the sun, using sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more, and checking for any new moles or marks,” said Mr Javid. “It could save your life.”
Another key skin cancer symptom is developing red, scaly patches which could be itchy.
An unusual growth, or even a pale white flat area of skin, also shouldn’t be ignored.
If it’s caught early, a dermatologist could remove the cancer entirely, which is why non-melanoma skin cancer has a high survival rate.
The Health Secretary made his stark warning ahead of the Government’s 10-year plan to reform cancer care and treatment in the NHS, which should be published this summer. He revealed the plan earlier this year, claiming “we need a new national war on cancer”.
The ’10-Year Cancer Plan’ would use evidence from doctors, charities and organisations in a bid to revolutionise cancer prevention and diagnosis.