East Devon warned to ‘cover up’ in summer sun

PUBLISHED: 14:09 18 July 2016 | UPDATED: 14:09 18 July 2016

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East Devon men who spend long periods of time outdoors are being urged to protect themselves against the sun this summer.

This advice from NHS comes amid a rise in the number of people being diagnosed with skin cancer in South West.

Farmers, builders, sportsmen and gardeners are all being targeted by NHS England South’s “Cover Up, Mate” campaign because of their prolonged exposure to the sun – and men are a particular focus because research indicates that they are much less likely than women to slap on the sunscreen.

Latest statistics from Public Health England show that in the South West there was a 31.9 per cent rise in incidence of malignant melanoma between 2009 and 2014, from 1,444 cases to 1,906 cases.

There was also a 14.5 per cent rise in mortality from malignant melanoma, from 248 deaths in 2009 to 284 deaths in 2014.

NHS England South West Medical Director Caroline Gamlin said: “Being outdoors is clearly crucial for farmers, builders, gardeners, Post Office workers and others, and for people who take part in a lot of outdoor sport, but there are simple steps can be taken to lower the risk of skin cancer and be sun safe.

“Men in particular need to take much more care.

“They need to use at least factor 15 sunscreen and apply it generously on all exposed skin – not forgetting their necks, ears and bald patches.”

Sunburn increases your risk of skin cancer which can develop slowly over time. So while sunburn might feel better in a few days, it may have done long term damage which could be fatal.

Top sun safe tips include:

• Use at least factor 15 sunscreen in the sun and use plenty of it

• Apply sunscreen to all exposed skin – don’t forget your neck and ears and your head if you have thinning or no hair

• Wear sunglasses and a hat

• Take particular care if have fair skin, moles or freckles, red or fair hair, or light-coloured eyes.

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