As many people prepare to fly off for their annual holiday, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s Director of Public Health, Dr Linda de Caestecker, is encouraging holidaymakers to take care of their skin on holiday and follow a few simple rules to keep them safe in the sun this summer.
She said: “The incidence of both non-melanoma and melanoma skin cancers has risen dramatically in the past decade.
"In 2005, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde had 953 new cases of non-melanotic skin cancer in men, and 895 in women. There were 95 new cases of malignant melanoma in men, and 121 in women.
"The figures for 2004 show 879 new cases of non-melanotic skin cancer in men, and 845 in women. In contrast, there were 91 new cases of malignant melanoma in men, and 115 in women.
“Whether you’re holidaying at home or abroad, shade, clothing, hats and sun-cream provide the best protection for both adults and children.
“Children are especially vulnerable and care should be taken to ensure they are covered up adequately. “
Following these simple rules you should enjoy a sun-burnt free holiday:
• limit your time in the midday sun and use shade wisely;
• wear protective clothing;
• a hat with a wide brim offers good sun protection for your eyes, ears, face and the back of your neck;
• use a sun-cream with adequate protection for your skin type
• drink plenty of water to replenish the fluids lost in the heat.
Dr de Caestecker added: “Scottish people tend to be fair skinned and need to take adequate steps to ensure their skin is protected.
“Babies, in particular, need to be covered up. With both sun-creams and sun protection clothing designed for babies and children there is no need for children to be over-exposed to the sun.
“We want everyone to enjoy their holiday but make sure they look after their skin.”
Notes to Editors
• Skin cancers fall into two main groups: malignant melanomas and non-melanotic skin cancers.
• Malignant melanoma is the sixth most common cancer in women and the ninth most common cancer in men.
• The reason for the increase incidence is because of increasing sun exposure. More people are getting suntans, and going on holiday to bask under very intense foreign ultraviolet radiation.
• Although incidence is increasing, survival is improving. Between 1992 and 1996 five-year survival from malignant melanoma was 67% in men and 78% in women. In 1997-2001, five-year survival increased to 71% in men and 83% in women. However, this still means that 20-30% of people diagnosed with malignant melanoma will die within five years.
• Almost all skin cancers are surgically removed. If they can be completely removed, the chance of a cure is high.
• Where the disease has spread into other tissues (particularly the case with malignant melanoma) then additional chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and immunotherapy may be used.
For further information contact 0141 201 4429.