NICE issues new guidance on preventing skin cancer

In collaboration with Adfero

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has published new guidelines to help the NHS, local authorities and other organisations in their work to prevent skin cancer.

The guidelines say that some sun exposure is important, as it allows people to make vitamin D as well as providing an opportunity to be physically active.

But too much exposure to UV light is known to increase the risk of skin cancer.

Professor Mike Kelly, director of the institute's Centre for Public Health Excellence, revealed that about 100,000 people each year are diagnosed with non-melanoma skin cancer and over 10,000 with malignant melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer.

He explained: "Through this guidance we hope to raise awareness of the risks of UV exposure and help people to protect themselves and others.

"Simple actions can greatly reduce the risk of developing skin cancer - opting to stay in the shade, wearing protective clothing in the sun, avoiding too much sun during the middle of the day and using sunscreen can all have an effect."

The guidance contains simple and practical recommendations for preventing over-exposure to the sun.

For instance, developers should attempt to create shaded areas around buildings, while schools should encourage children to use sunscreen and stay in the shade during breaks.

Sara Hiom, director of health information at Cancer Research UK, said that avoiding sunburn is one of the best ways to reduce the risk of skin cancer.

"Many of us like to make the most of the UK's rare sunny days and should be able to enjoy the sun safely.

"If we all make sure that our skin doesn't redden or burn in the sun, it could help to reduce the rocketing number of people who develop skin cancer every year. And that's the aim of Cancer Research UK's annual SunSmart campaign."