Health chiefs are urging people to be more aware of the risk of getting sunburned while out gardening this Easter bank holiday.
It comes as they revealed the most common phrase heard by nurses when they tell a patient they have skin cancer is “but I haven’t been sunbathing” or “I don’t sit in the sun.”
We are currently targeting gardeners as now is the time most people will be out sprucing up their gardens over spring and in to summer
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the UK, with more than 40,000 new cases being diagnosed each year.
Sun exposure is one of the main risk factors associated with skin cancer, the ultraviolet radiation and the damage it causes over extended periods of time, makes it particularly hazardous to those who frequently work outdoors.
Michelle Forsyth, Macmillan skin cancer care co coordinator at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, is on a mission to target people who work outdoors either as a profession or as a hobby. She said: “Many of the people we have seen at these events say that they are not ones for sitting in the sun but they don’t always appreciate that it’s not about sunbathing it’s about sun exposure which can obviously be gained by any outdoor activity such as gardening, walking, sports or working outside.
“We are currently targeting gardeners as now is the time most people will be out sprucing up their gardens over spring and in to summer. As we have lighter nights and a long Easter holiday more people will go in to the garden and most of them will forget to cover up or use sun cream.”
Everyone is urged to remember simple steps to reduce the risk of skin cancer – applying a high-factor sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher); avoid dehydration and wearing a hat or shirt to cover your head and shoulders. The back of the neck is particularly susceptible to sunburn.