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Stay Safe in the Sun this Summer

As the summer months arrive, health professionals at County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust are hosting a series of roadshow events to make sure we stay safe in the sun. 

The Trust's 'Talking about Cancer' (TAC) team will be visiting community venues and workplaces across the county to raise awareness of skin cancer and the importance of presenting early to a GP if people have a potential sign or symptom.

Fiona McQuiston, Health Improvement Lead for County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust said: "Skin cancer is one of the most common cancers in the UK but there are simple steps that we can take to help prevent it. The best way to prevent skin cancer is to avoid too much time in the sun.  You don't have to be sunbathing to get burned. You can get too much sun while walking to the shops, driving a car with the windows down, even under light cloud cover. Time of day and location are important too. UV rays are most intense in the UK between the hours of 11am and 3pm during the summer months. People should avoid staying in the sun until the skin goes red, aim to protect the skin by covering up with clothing and staying in the shade, wearing a broad-brimmed hat which covers the face, neck and ears and a long sleeved top and trousers. If possible wear close-weave fabrics". 

Fiona continued "Sunscreen is also important, although it shouldn't be used in replacement of clothing to protect the skin. Choose a sunscreen which offers both Ultra Violet A (UVA) protection and Ultra Violet B (UVB) protection. IIn the UK this is indicated on the bottles by 4 stars and a circular UVA logo with at least a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) 15 and a higher SPF for babies and children.  Using a sunscreen with a high UVA protection increases the chance of keeping the skin healthy and young looking. Use a water resistant sunscreen if contact with water or excessive sweating is likely to occur."

People need to be aware that applying protection once a day isn't enough. Fiona explains: "Sun cream should be applied generously half an hour before and after going out in the sun not forgetting to apply to head, neck and ears. Re-apply every 2 hours and after being in water even if using a water resistant cream. Also re-apply after towel drying.

"Some people are more at risk than others of developing skin cancer. These include those with fair skin, children and babies (babies are at greatest risk of burning and should be kept out of direct sunlight), young people, outdoor workers, people who are Immuno-suppressed, those with a personal or family history of skin cancer, people with a lot of moles (more than 50) and people who put themselves at risk of over exposure to UV light by sunbathing or using sunbeds.

"Skin cancer among the 15-24year olds is one of the fastest rising cancers and the Sunbeds (Regulation) Act 2010 aims to protect those under the age of 18 from putting their health at risk from using sunbeds. Intense bursts of UV radiation can cause damage to the skin, even after just one use."

To help protect you and your children follow these simple rules and drop into one of the roadshow events for more information and advice:
• Stick to the shade between 11am and 3pm
• Cover up with clothes, a wide brimmed hat and sunglasses
• Apply a high-factor sunscreen (minimum SPF15 and three stars) regularly
• Drink plenty of water to avoid overheating
• Avoid using sun lamps or sunbeds
Roadshow Events:

• Monday 1 August,10am - 12:30pm, Newton Aycliffe Leisure Centre 
• Monday 1 August 2pm - 3:30pm, Coxhoe Leisure Centre
• Tuesday 2 August 10am - 12pm, Riverside Cricket Ground, Chester-le-Street
• Tuesday 2 August 2:30pm - 4pm, St Cuthberts Church, Darlington
• Wednesday 3 August,10am - 12noon and 1:30pm - 4pm, Newton Aycliffe Community Centre, St Elizabeth Close, Woodham Village
• Saturday 6 August 11am - 3pm, Vane Tempest Community Centre, Gilesgate
• Wednesday 10 August 10am - 12pm, Riverside Cricket Ground, Chester-le-Street
• Wednesday 10 August 1pm - 2:30pm, Sherburn Village Leisure Centre
• Wednesday 10 August, 2:30pm - 4pm, Spennymoor Town Hall
• Thursday 11 August 9am - 2pm, Stanley Market Place
• Thursday 11 August 9:30am - 12noon, 4 Clocks Bishop Auckland
• Friday 12 August 10:30am - 1pm, Asda Winbush Way, Darlington
• Tuesday 16 August 12noon - 2pm, Adventure Point, Morton Park, Darlington
• Tuesday 16 August 3pm - 4:30pm, Barnard Castle Library
• Wednesday 17 August 11am - 3pm, Age UK GOLD Tea Dance, Market Square, (outside Dolphin Centre) Darlington
• Thursday 18 August 10am - 2pm, Consett Market Place
• Friday 19 August 9:30am - 2pm, Ferryhill Market.
• Monday 22 August 9am - 11am, Meadowfield Leisure Centre
• Monday 22 - 26 August 10am - 3pm, Chester-le-Street Market Place

Published: 26 July 2011

'I feel it is important to relay my experience back to let the staff know they are doing a brilliant job! I would like them to know I appreciated all they did for myself, my family and our beautiful baby girl.'

Patient, Labour Ward, Darlington Memorial Hospital