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Skin cancers

International Health organisations agree that sun exposure is the main cause of skin cancers.

Skin cancer is caused by damage to the skin cells from UV (Ultra Violet) light combined with failure to repair that damage effectively and/or failure to remove the pre-cancerous skin lesions.

Scientists estimate that heavy sun exposure causes at least two thirds (and probably more) of all malignant melanomas and up to 90% of all non-melanoma skin cancers.

People who receive the highest exposures to the sun have about 20-35% higher risks of melanoma, but sun burn increases the risk of this disease even more. The analysis of several studies showed that sunburn at any age doubles the risk of malignant melanoma.

Recent studies have shown intense, intermittent sun exposure, such as holiday sun bathing, pose the greatest risk of malignant melanomas. The recent increase in the number of people taking last minute cheap holidays abroad may contribute to the rising number of melanoma cases.

Skin cancer awareness is important because it is becoming increasingly more common, it is preventable and most cases if diagnosed early enough are treatable.

There are three main types of skin cancer: malignant melanoma and the two non-melanoma skin cancers (NMSC): basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC).

Awareness material spotlights construction worker cancer risk

Liverpool City Council (LCC) have prioritised skin cancer in the Health and Wellbeing Board’s strategy and a skin cancer strategy was launched in July 2013 to meet the recommendations in the NICE skin cancer prevention guidance. The strategy includes a focus on outdoor workers.

People who work outdoors are typically men, and are twice as likely as indoor workers to be diagnosed with non-melanoma skin cancer. The rate of men dying from malignant melanoma – the deadliest form of skin cancer – has doubled in the last 30 years according to Cancer Research UK figures published May 2010.

Studies show that people who work outside are at greater risk of developing skin cancer and should be educated on the damaging effects of the sun, how to protect themselves, how to recognise the signs of skin cancer and the importance of early presentation.

Click on the links below for further information, posters and leaflets:





To protect yourself from the sun:

  • Cover up
  • Seek shade 11-3
  • Wear a hat
  • Wear sunglasses
  • Drink lots of water
  • Apply SPF 15+ UVA/UVB suncream every 2 hours (SPF 30+ for fair skinned and children)
  • Don't allow yourself to burn!