Sunscreen "Not complete protection" against skin cancer

The study has backed public health campaigns that call for other methods to be adopted in addition to sunscreen, such as hats and protection in shade.

Malignant melanoma is the fifth most common cancer in the UK, with cases reported in BBC Health News of more than 13,000 each year. Sun exposure is widely known as a large contributor.

Mr Per Hall, a surgeon with a key interest in skin cancer and its early detection, analysed the results this week on behalf of SkinHealth UK. ‘This study is providing scientific support for the advice that we have long since given about reducing the risks of developing melanoma by sun avoidance behaviour. We know that uv damages the DNA blueprint of the skin and that the body is constatntly checking for this damage and correcting it by its own immunosurveillance.  A melanoma arises when this system fails as UV light is constantly attacking our skin’ he says.

Advice to seek shade, put on a hat and cover up with a t shirt has been given for many years, and advice for schools to provide shade for children in break times is now legislated for.

Mr Hall goes on to explain the use of sunscreens and creams ‘Sun creams retard the rate at which sun burning takes place.  If you spend all day in the sun with sunblock you can still get a suntan.  This tanning is the body's reaction to UV damage.  The lower the factor sunblock, the quicker you get tanned’.

Mr Hall adds ‘Since the days of Coco Chanel we have been unsuccessful in public education into convincing people that to have a suntan is not healthy or good for you’.

Head of health information at Cancer Research UK, Dr Julie Sharp exclaims ‘people tend to think they are invincible once they put on sunscreen and may spend longer in the sun, ultimately increasing their overall exposure to UV rays. The research adds important evidence showing that sunscreen plays a role, but you shouldn’t just rely on this to protect your skin’.

Professor Richard Marais of the University of Manchester also added ‘This research has also put forward the first real model that absolutely shows that UV light causes melanoma’.

About Mr Per Hall
Mr Per Hall was appointed as a consultant plastic surgeon in 1995 and has been working at Spire Cambridge Lea Hospital ever since. He was more recently appointed as a surgeon with a special interest in cleft lip and palate at Addenbrooke’s Hospital NHS Trust, Cambridge where he is the Lead Clinician for this service for East Anglia. Mr Hall offers a wide variety of cosmetic plastic surgery procedures, from complex reconstructive surgery to more minor procedures. He has a long standing interest in skin cancer and its early detection using computer imaging.

About SkinHealth UK

At SkinHealthUK, we know that early detection of skin cancer is crucial and saves lives. This is why we offer state of the art skin cancer screeningin private clinics across the UK for individuals and corporates wishing to offer occupational health screening to their employees.

Our service offers:

Mole screening and skin examination service for early detection of skin cancers

2nd Opinion – a follow up with a dermatologist if abnormalities are detected during screening

One Stop Clinic – A more detailed check where further diagnosis is required and mole removal can take place