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Eight in ten people ‘never check skin for signs of cancer’

Skin cancer isn’t a nice thing to think about, but unfortunately it is the most common form of cancer in the UK.

This makes checking your skin for potential symptoms incredibly important.

However, worrying figures from a survey carried out by the British Association of Dermatologists and skincare brand La Roche-Posay show that 80 per cent of people infrequently or never look for signs of the disease.

Furthermore, 69 per cent admitted they would have no idea what to look for even if they did check their skin.

You can check for signs of skin cancer by examining your skin and seeing if you have any new or changed moles or unusual marks. If you do, it could well be nothing, but it’s always worthwhile to see a doctor just in case.

The survey also discovered that not knowing the signs isn’t the only obstacle to early diagnosis.

Just 50 per cent of respondents said they were happy to show a skin issue to their doctor, with the remaining half citing embarrassment, lack of time, fear of wasting the doctor’s time, not liking going to the doctor and fear of skin cancer as potential barriers.

Women were twice as likely to say they are afraid to waste the doctor’s time and three times as many females felt too embarrassed to go to a GP with a skin issue.

Despite persistent health warnings, sunbathing is still seen as the most popular way of getting a tan, with 54 per cent of people saying they sunbathe abroad and 35 per cent doing so in the UK.

The British Association of Dermatologists and La Roche-Posay survey was carried out at the 2013 ‘Be Sun Aware’ mole and sun advice roadshow.

Of the 1,350 people surveyed, 181 were advised to seek further advice from their doctor.

Skin cancer is something everyone should be aware of and take steps to avoid. However, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy being outdoors in the sunshine.

Applying strong sun cream and covering up will protect your skin, as will staying in the shade.

An ideal way to do this is to purchases a shade sail – stylish structures that can block out almost all of the sun’s harmful UV rays.

Curious? Look at our frequently asked questions section to find out more.

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