The HSE’s National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP ) is reminding people to protect themselves from skin cancer as new Covid-19 public health measures come into effect.
If you’re planning on playing tennis or golf, if your children have returned to outdoor sports training or if you are going on a trip to the zoo, don’t forget to be SunSmart.
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in Ireland, with over 13,000 cases annually. The number of people being diagnosed with skin cancer in Ireland is rising rapidly. It is generally classified into two groups: melanoma, which is the more aggressive form, and non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC ).
Between 2020 and 2045, it is predicted that the number of cases of melanoma per year among males and females will increase by 67 percent and NMSC to increase by 110 percent.
UV (ultraviolet ) radiation from the sun causes the DNA damage in our skin which can lead to skin cancer. UV is usually strongest between 11am and 3pm during the summer months even when it is cloudy.
Protect your skin by following the SunSmart 5Ss of Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek and Slide.
- Slip on clothing: Cover skin as much as possible, wear long sleeves, collared t-shirts, clothes made from close-woven material that does not allow sunlight through.
- Slop on broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB ) sunscreen: Apply sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF ) of at least 30+ for adults and 50+ for children, with high UVA protection and water-resistant. Reapply regularly. No sunscreen can provide 100% protection, it should be used alongside other protective measures such as clothing and shade.
- Slap on a wide-brimmed hat: Protect your face, ears and neck.
- Seek shade: Sit in the cover of trees to avoid direct sunlight. Use a sunshade on your buggy or pram. Keep babies and children out of direct sunlight.
- Slide on sunglasses: Guard your eyes against harm by wearing sunglasses with UV protection.
- Do not deliberately try to get a suntan. Avoid getting a sunburn. Never use a sunbed.
Dr Triona McCarthy, Director of Public Health, HSE NCCP says, “With the new public health measures, people have more opportunity to enjoy getting outside. We want to remind everyone it is easy to enjoy the sun safely by following the SunSmart 5S’s to mind their skin and reduce their risk of skin cancer.”
Please see the SunSmart hub at hse.ie and #SunSmart on social for more information.