Holiday makers and sun worshippers have been warned about confusing labelling on bottles of sun screen.
In a survey of over 2,000 people, only 8% knew that the SPF rating advertised on the front of the bottle only protects against UVB rays, and that consumers should look for the “star” rating which indicates the protection factor against UVA rays, the main cause of skin cancer.
UVB rays are the main cause of sun burn, as they penetrate the upper layers of the skin whereas UVA rays penetrate more deeply, causing skin to age, and more likely to lead to melanoma, although UVB can also cause cancer.
Professor Jayne Lawrence of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society said “people should not have to pick their way through complicated dual ratings information to understand how sun screen works and the amount of protection it potentially provides”.
Experts recommend the application of two tablespoons of sun screen every two hours in the UK and for people to take cover between 11:00am and 3:00pm when the sun is at its strongest.
Experts are calling for a review of the way in which sun screen manufacturers label their products. It is proposed that there should be a universal single rating system which clearly identifies the level of protection against both UVA and UVB radiation.
Over exposure to ultraviolet radiation remains the main cause of preventable skin cancers according to Cancer Research UK. It is estimates that 86% of melanomas in the UK are caused by exposure to the sun and the use of sunbeds.
Common signs of skin cancer include:
- A mole changing shape or getting bigger;
- A mole changing colour or losing symmetry;
- Itchy and painful mole;
- Bleeding, crusty or inflamed mole.
If you notice any of these symptoms, or anything else that is concerning, you should see your GP as soon as possible. Cancer Research UK has a useful webpage to help you assess any symptoms of skin cancer, along with photographs of typical melanoma.
Clarke Willmott’s clinical negligence team are regularly instructed by patients who have experienced a delay in diagnosis and treatment of all types of cancer. Unfortunately, many patients do not act quickly enough to signs of cancer, often waiting for them to reoccur or resolve on their own. Early intervention is the key to cancer survival and everyone is urged to see their GP as soon as they notice any worrying symptoms.
If you, or anyone you know has been affected by a delay in treatment and diagnosis of cancer, speak to one of our specialist lawyers on 0800 316 8892 (James.Edmondson@clarkewillmott.com).