We live in the United Kingdom. It’s often rainy, it’s mostly grey. So it’s hardly surprising that we’re thirsty for the feel of the sun on our face. But with rates of skin cancer on the rise (diagnoses for those under 55 have risen by 66 per cent in the last 20 years – and it’s a whopping 222 per cent for those above that age) caution is needed more than ever. Melanoma (a type of skin cancer) is now the fifth most common type of cancer in the UK, with around 15,000 people being diagnosed each year. Both my parents have had skin cancer. One of them is still with us; the other isn’t. If those statistics don’t scare you, getting sunburnt just once every two years actually triples our chance of developing skin cancer, and even just reddening of the skin is enough to raise the risk. So how can we stay safe in the sun, and spot if there’s a problem?
KNOW THE KEY SIGNS
You can get skin cancer anywhere on your body. ‘For men, the most common place is the back; for women, it’s the legs,’ says NHS skin cancer specialist Dr Ross Perry. But you can also get some skin cancers on parts of your body that aren’t even exposed to the sun while you relax on a sunlounger, such as the palms of your hands, so be vigilant.
‘Every two to three months, give yourse