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New study highlights danger of sunburn

More than half of people with moles that are cancerous or at risk of skin cancer have a history of sunburn or sunbed use, according to figures released by the Mole Clinic.

Over the past year, the independent skin cancer screening clinic has examined more than 10,000 moles, half for the NHS and half for private patients.

It found that 31 per cent of these were either skin cancers or at risk of the disease and in need of treatment.

Of the people with these moles, 54 per cent said they have suffered from significant sunburn in the past or used a sunbed on a regular basis.

Many of the burns occurred in their childhood or teenage years.

“These figures are a timely reminder of the need to teach people about the dangers of sunburn and to discourage people from using sunbeds.

“Anecdotally, many people with skin cancer tell us about sunburns in their childhood or teenage years,” commented Dr Sarah Hull, an NHS skin specialist working with the Mole Clinic.

She added: “Clearly, people with a history of sunburn or sunbed use need to be very aware of their moles and anyone with a new or changing mole should see a specialist without delay.”

In a blog written for the talkhealth partnership, the Mole Clinic said that around 2,750 people died from skin cancer during 2010 in the UK, which is close to eight people per day.

Incidences of the malignant melanoma cancer have more than quadrupled in Britain over the last thirty years.

It is the most common cancer among the 15 to 34 age group and cases of the disease have increased at a faster rate in the last thirty years than any of the current top ten cancers.

One of the best ways to protect against the threat of sunburn is to install a shade sail. These structures are designed to withstand the harsh Australian climate and can block out 98.8 per cent of the sun’s harmful UV rays.

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