West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper inspected a UV Index weather map at a special Molewatch clinic organised by Cancer Research UK at Westminster.
The clinic, staffed by dermatologists and specialist skin cancer nurses, was held to promote skin cancer awareness and the importance of being SunSmart this summer. TV weather presenter Sian Lloyd was also on hand to stress the importance of checking the UV Index this summer.
Rosie Cooper MP said: “This summer it is important to be safe in the sun and pay attention to the UV Index, which describes the strength of UV radiation. On a clear summer’s day the UV Index may reach 7 at around midday. It is vital that people know their risk, and the Index is a useful measure of when protection is advisable for your skin type.
“Sunburn can double your risk of skin cancer, so it is especially important to avoid sunburn. I do urge my constituents to speak to their GP if they have concerns about a particular mole, freckle or patch of skin that has changed over a period of weeks.”
Recent research for Cancer Research UK’s SunSmart campaign found that 70 per cent of Britons did not know what the UV Index was, despite its appearance on TV weather forecasts and websites in summer. The Met Office now offers a five day forecast of the UV Index at www.met-office.gov.uk and it also appears in newspaper weather forecasts.
Cancer Research UK’s SunSmart manager, Genevieve Frisby, said: “This year’s SunSmart campaign is encouraging people to be more aware of the strength of the sun on different days and what this means for their skin type. Fair skinned people can burn in as little as10 minutes when the UV Index is seven and it is important they take extra care when the UV Index is high. With more than 73,000 new cases of skin cancer registered each year and rising, it is crucial that people know when to cover up.
“This year, we’re particularly encouraging men and people who work outdoors to be extra vigilant. Ask partners or friends to check out your backs, as this is a common site for skin cancer in susceptible males.”
Sian Lloyd, one of Britain’s top weather presenters, said: “I’ve got Type One skin and I know how important it is for very fair people like me to protect themselves. Checking the UV Index on the weather forecast in the summer is an easy way to know what to prepare for during the hours of 11am -3pm – whether to pack the sunhat and make the most of any shade.”
To find out more about skin cancer and how to protect yourself in the sun, visit www.sunsmart.org.uk or call Cancer Research UK’s cancer information nurses on 020 7061 8355. If you notice changes in size, shape or colour of any moles, freckles or patches of previously normal skin you should book an appointment with your GP without delay.