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Parents urged over skin cancer risk

01 August 2014 08:26

A mother and daughter cover themselves in sun cream

A mother and daughter cover themselves in sun cream

Parents have been warned not to neglect their own skin when it comes to protecting their family from the sun's harmful rays.

Although most parents remember to put sun lotion on their children, nearly half are not so careful about their own safety, with 47% admitting they often forget to cover up because they are too busy concentrating on their kids.

Cancer Research UK says this is putting them at risk of developing skin cancer, and has urged parents to take more care by using sunscreen of at least factor 15, seeking shade during the hottest parts of the day and wearing protective clothing.

It's important to know, however, that having skin cancer does not mean you can't have a holiday with your family as specialist travel insurance for cancer patients is available.

The poll of 950 parents of under-18s, carried out by the charity in conjunction with Nivea Sun, found 74% always make sure their children are wearing at last factor 15 when playing out in the sun. However, only 38% always apply it to themselves.

The study also found that 55% always ensure their children spend some time in the shade but less than a third do that themselves, while 62% always make sure their children wear a hat or other protective clothing but only 23% take the same precautions.

Sarah Williams, senior health information officer at Cancer Research UK, says she is concerned by the statistics showing that only a quarter of parents surveyed always cover up with clothing or a hat as this is one of the best ways to protect the skin.

She is calling on parents to "practise what they preach" and look after their own skin as well as their children's to set a good example. A healthy attitude towards the sun is needed by everyone because harmful UV rays not only cause premature ageing and wrinkles, but can also increase the risk of skin cancer, she says.