Forestry Commission issues guidelines to try and cut skin cancer rates in the New Forest

Cllr Di Brooks

Cllr Di Brooks

First published in News

A HAMPSHIRE beautyspot has been identified as having one of the highest skin cancer rates in the country for the second year running.

Visitors and residents alike enjoy spending time outdoors in the New Forest but the Forestry Commission has been forced to issue guidelines to try and cut the cancer rate.

The Forestry Commission said that a 2014 Public Health England profile for the New Forest showed a rate of 28.7 occurrences of malignant melanoma per 100,000 in the area. The highest nationally was 31.8 while the lowest was 3.6.

And now the commission is supporting New Forest District Council’s campaign to raise sun awareness and outline simple measures people can take to reduce the risks of developing the disease.

Councillor Di Brooks said that there were a number of factors contributing to the high malignant melanoma rates in the area.

She said: “People are out in the sun a lot more here and we have got a much older population.

“Last year we had a stall giving away suncream and we have sent leaflets out to all beach hut owners to say ‘be aware’.

“We’ve got to try to make people aware that it’s a problem because people enjoy being out in the sun.

“You’ve got to put it on children if they are on the beach or in the garden.”

Cancer Research UK’s most recent statistics show that in 2011 13,348 people were diagnosed with malignant melanoma while 2,209 people died from the condition.

And about 100,000 people in the UK were diagnosed with non-melanoma skin cancer in 2010 and there were 585 deaths from this illness.

The Forestry Commission recommends protecting skin with clothing, including hats and sunglasses, as well as wearing a high-protection sunscreen of at least SPF30.

Suncream should be applied 20 minutes before exposure to the sun and topped up every two hours, as well as after towel drying, perspiring and swimming. Babies and young children should be kept out of direct sun light and any changes to a mole or area of skin should be reported to a doctor.

For more information visit newforest.gov.uk/|sunaware.

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