Public urged to be aware of sun risk

WITH the start of Sun Awareness Week, people in the area are being urged to take care in the sun and avoid the risk of skin cancer.

Liberal Democrat MSP Alison McInnes made the call following publication of new research to mark the awareness week, which begins today (Monday, May 6).

Mrs McInnes said: “Many people wrongly think that because we are so far north that the sun cannot cause skin cancer. That is not the case. It is not just on holiday in the Mediterranean or wherever that can lead to problems. Sunscreen can be as necessary in Scotland too.

“It’s not just during the summer that we need to take care. All those who work outside, children on play breaks at schools and so on also need protection.”

Mrs McInnes also this week asked Scottish Government ministers what action is being taken to establish melanoma screening programmes for people working in agriculture. She continued: “This is a most dangerous form of skin cancer which develops when damage to skin cells is caused by ultraviolet radiation from sunshine or tanning beds. It triggers mutations that lead the skin cells to multiply rapidly and form malignant tumours.

“At Parliamentary questions I will be asking the Rural Affairs Secretary what steps he and the Health Secretary are taking.”

According to the research, carried out by the British Association of Dermatologists, half of people in the UK think that their skin is darker than it actually is, putting them at risk of developing skin cancer.

The survey also found that desire for tanned skin is increasing, despite warnings against sunbathing. Around 62 per cent said that they found tanned skin more attractive than paler skin, compared to 56 per cent of people responding to a similar survey five years ago. Three times more men than women believed that a base tan will protect against sun burn and sun damage when it provides only minimal protection.