Thursday 27 April 2006
A new survey launched today by The Institute of Cancer Research’s SAFE campaign found that nearly two-thirds (63%) of men do not regularly check their skin for signs of skin cancer and, more alarmingly, that nearly half (45%) do not know the signs or symptoms of skin cancer.
The SAFE survey found that men consistently fall behind women when it comes to protecting themselves from the harmful effects of UV rays and checking their skin for any changes which could be associated with skin cancer.
Whilst women were consistently better at protecting and checking themselves, the results were still worrying - almost half of women (45%) do not regularly check their skin for abnormal changes and nearly one-third (31%) do not know the signs of skin cancer.
Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the UK, with more than 70,000 new cases each year, yet the majority of cases could be prevented. Over the last few decades the incidence of skin cancer has increased dramatically. Currently malignant melanoma - the most deadly form of skin cancer - is the fastest growing cancer in the UK, with more than 8,000 new cases diagnosed each year.
The number of men dying from malignant melanoma continues to rise, whilst the number of women dying from the disease is starting to fall. The survey indicates that this is due to women taking a more pro-active approach when it comes to protecting their skin, through covering up in the midday sun, wearing sunscreen, avoiding long periods of exposure and checking their skin for changes. However, more than 800 women and 900 men in the UK are still dying each year from the disease.
Dr Richard Marais from The Institute of Cancer Research said: “These findings are shocking, skin cancer is one of the most preventable cancers yet it seems that many men and women are still not getting the message about the importance of protecting and checking themselves. It is imperative that everyone protects their skin when they are in the sun, whether they are in the UK or abroad, and regularly checks their skin and moles for abnormal changes.”
“If the most deadly form of skin cancer, malignant melanoma, is caught in its early stages the majority of cases can be cured. However if it is not found until later, when it has spread, it is much more difficult to treat and the survival rate after 5 years is less than 5%.”
Professor Peter Rigby, Chief Executive of The Institute of Cancer Research commented: “Scientists at The Institute are at the cutting edge of malignant melanoma research and are currently working on an intensive programme of targeted drug development. However, since many cases of the disease can be prevented, we hope that through our SAFE campaign we can further raise awareness of the importance of being sun and skin aware.”
The SAFE Campaign is working in partnership with high street retailer Superdrug and with the support of supermodel Cindy Crawford. In the summer months Superdrug will produce a selection of in-store literature with advice and tips on staying safe in the sun. Superdrug will also raise much-needed funds for research into skin cancer at The Institute of Cancer Research through a variety of activities including a product promotion on their SPF15+ Solait sunscreen range.
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For further information or to arrange an interview please contact:
The SAFE Campaign run by The Institute of Cancer Research
020 7153 5359 / 07788 427 856.
Notes to editors:
Whether you are in the UK or abroad, protect your skin by:
- Covering up in the sun and staying in the shade when the sun is at its strongest, between 11am and 3pm
- Wearing factor 15+ sunscreen
- Taking extra care with children and if you have fair skin
- Regularly checking your skin for new moles or changes to existing moles or skin
- Visiting your GP immediately if you notice any unusual changes to your skin or moles
What to look out for:
If you notice any of the following changes you should visit your GP immediately:
- New sores and lumps that do not heal after a month
- Spots or sores that bleed, itch, develop a crust or hurt
- Unexplained skin ulcers
- New or existing moles which appear to be growing or changing shape
- New or existing moles which are a range of shades of brown and black
- New or existing moles which are larger than 6mm in diameter
- New or existing moles which have jagged edges
- New or existing moles which bleed, ooze
- For a free leaflet on how to help prevent skin cancer and the signs / symptoms to look out for please call 0800 731 9468
SAFE @ Superdrug
- High street retailer Superdrug is supporting The SAFE Campaign to promote skin and sun protection. They will be running a product promotion on SPF15+ sunscreen in their Solait range later in the year which will help to raise vital funds for skin cancer research at The Institute Of Cancer Research
- Carried out by ICM Research on behalf of The Institute Of Cancer Research. ICM interviewed a random sample of 1010 adults aged 18+, by telephone between 18th and 19th January 2006. Interviews were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults. ICM is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Further information at www.icmresearch.co.uk
The SAFE Campaign
- SAFE is a campaign run by The Institute of Cancer Research to encourage people to be skin and sun aware, and raise funds for our vital research in this area
- To find out more about SAFE and ways in which you can help raise funds for skin cancer research or for further information on skin cancer please contact SAFE on 0800 731 9468 or visit www.safe-campaign.org
The Institute Of Cancer Research
- The Institute of Cancer Research is Europe’s leading cancer research centre with expert scientists working on cutting edge research. It was founded in 1909 to carry out research into the causes of cancer and to develop new strategies for its prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care. Website at: www.icr.ac.uk