Be Sun Smart This Summer

NHS reminds residents of the dangers of too much sun exposure

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 “Everyone wants to make the most of the warm weather but it’s important to enjoy the sun safely” says Houda Al-Sharifi, Director of Public Health at NHS Wandsworth. 

“Cases of malignant melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, are sadly increasing with people in their 60s and 70s now over five times more likely to be affected than their parents.  But malignant melanoma is largely preventable and whether you’re at the beach, enjoying a BBQ, picnic, or even doing a spot of gardening, there are simple steps you can take to protect yourself.”

  • Avoid the sun from 11pm – 3pm when the sun is at its strongest
  • Apply sunscreen regularly and generously, at least SPF 15
  • Cover up with loose clothing, a wide brimmed hat and good quality sunglasses with 100% UV protection
  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Keep  babies and young children in the shade; under trees, umbrellas or canopies
  • Be aware of sun exposure during your lunch break, school playtimes or throughout the day if you work outside

Early detection of skin cancer is crucial and people are advised to keep a close eye on their skin reporting any changes in the size, shape and colour of a mole or other patch of their skin to a doctor without delay. 

Follow The British Association of Dermatologist easy ABCD guide to checking moles:

  • Asymmetry - the two halves of the area may differ in shape.
  • Border - the edges of the area may be irregular or blurred, and sometimes show notches.
  • Colour - this may be uneven. Different shades of black, brown and pink may be seen.
  • Diameter - most melanomas are at least 6mm in diameter. Look for any changes in size or shape.

If anyone is still worried or unsure about changes to their skin, please see a doctor immediately. 

For more information about staying safe in the sun, visit Cancer Research UK’s SunSmart website at or the British Association of Dermatologists’ website at


May 24, 2010