Britons are most prone to skin cancer-study indicates

Skin cancer is a potential time bomb for young Britons, researchers said Tuesday.

Despite a 24 percent rise in the last five years in cases of melanoma, the deadliest type skin cancer, most young Britons are ignoring warnings about sunbathing.

"Seventy percent of young people are still seeking a tan when they go on holiday," Dr Charlotte Proby, a dermatologist at the charity Cancer Research UK, told a news conference.

Young skin is particularly vulnerable to ultraviolet radiation from the sun which causes skin cancer but teenagers and adults are not taking precautions, according to a new survey.

"Unless young people change their habits and learn to protect themselves properly in the sun we could be heading for a skin cancer time bomb," Proby said, report

According to Cancer Research UK (CRUK) is set to reveal the results of a survey showing the continuing desire of those aged 16 to 24 to get a tan.

Medical experts are set to predict that teenagers seeking that "healthy" glow could ignite a skin cancer timebomb.

The charity said as more young Britons have ventured abroad, encouraged by the growth in bargain breaks, cases of malignant melanoma have increased by 24 per cent in the last five years.

Last year's record-breaking summer at home also tempted more people on to beaches and into parks in a bid to get a tan.

In 1995 there were 5,626 new cases of melanoma in Britain but by 2000 this figure had risen to 6,967. Earlier this month CRUK and the Sunbed Association called for children under the age of 16 to be banned from using sunbeds because the cancer risk was so high.

Scientists believe spending endless hours on a sunbed damages skin cells in the same way as lying unprotected in the sun for too long.

But the most deadly form of the disease is malignant melanoma, accounting for 7,000 new cases annually and 1,700 deaths. Despite this rise, increasingly stronger warnings about the importance of safety in the sun and using sunscreen appear to have had little effect. If anything the desire for a tan – proof that you have enjoyed a fantastically sunny holiday – has risen in recent years.

The SunSmart campaign, jointly funded by the Department of Health and Cancer Research UK (CRUK), aims to educate people about the importance of being careful in the sun to avoid the risk of skin cancer.

Its key messages are:

Stay in the shade between 11am and 3pm

Make sure you never burn

Always cover up with a T-shirt, wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses

Remember to take extra care with children

Then use factor 15-plus sunscreen, inform

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