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New campaign to keep golfers sun safe is launched

June 12, 2013

West Bridgford, 10 th June 2013. A nationwide campaign to warn golfers of the risks of sun exposure on the course, is launched today by the UK's only national skin cancer-specific charity, Skcin (The Karen Clifford Skin Cancer Charity).

Skcin has teamed up with the English Golf Union (EGU) and pharmaceutical company LEO Pharma, to raise awareness of skin cancer among the UK’s 3.4 million regular golfers. 1 Skin cancer is the most common and fastest rising cancer in the UK 2 and those who spend time enjoying outdoor pursuits like golf are particularly at risk. Each round of golf can chalk up an extra five hours of sun exposure and many of us underestimate the risk of sun damage in this country. Spending even a short time in the sun can cause sunburn 3 , especially if you have fair skin. Although sunburn settles down after a few days, repeated sun exposure builds up over the years into sun damaged skin 4 which means that there is an increased risk of developing skin cancer.

Charlotte Fionda, Director of Skcin, said, "There are two different types of skin cancer, some are related to moles, but others are not. Both are linked to too much sun exposure and can be dangerous for your health. Every year in the UK 112,000 cases of skin cancer are diagnosed, 10 per cent of these are caused by moles. Many of us think about being sun safe when we’re abroad but forget that UK sun strength can be deceptive. Our campaign highlights the simple steps we can all take to protect ourselves, especially when enjoying outdoor sports and leisure activities."

From today, posters featuring top golfers and Skcin patrons Alison Nicholas MBE and Gary Wolstenholme MBE will arrive at every golf club nationwide. The posters are packed with top tips on keeping sun safe that include:

Apply SPF30+ broad spectrum UVA sunscreen 30 minutes before teeing off, ensure good coverage on face, neck, ears and keep in your golf bag to reapply regularly.

Wear protective clothing such as a hat to shade the face (preferably with a broad brim), consider wearing sunglasses and seek shade where possible.

Check the UV forecast, when levels are three or above, always use sun protection and remember UV can penetrate cloud cover.

Check your skin regularly to detect changes early.

Not all skin cancers are about changes to moles, get rough/scaly patches checked too as these may be a sign of increased risk.

Charlotte Fionda, Director of Skcin, added, "Rough patches of skin can be a sign of a skin condition called solar keratosis. It affects around one in ten of us aged 40 or over and this rises to one in four of us over 60. Up to 65 per cent of a common skin cancer, squamous cell carcinoma, results from it but most of us haven’t heard of the condition. In its early stages it can often be easier to feel than see so it’s important to both look and FEEL for changes regularly. If you have concerns speak to your GP."

Alison Nicholas MBE, Solheim cup captain/winner, said, "When I tour abroad in sunny destinations I am more sun aware but in the UK it’s easy to get into the mind-set that the sun isn’t as strong, especially when there is cloud cover. Your own attitude to the sun can be the main risk factor for skin damage. I now know how important it is to be sun aware after losing a fellow golfer and friend to skin cancer. Not wearing or reapplying sunscreen, teeing off mid- morning when the sun’s rays are at their strongest, and having little or no shade, if you stay on the fairways, are all factors that contribute to the dangers of skin cancer."

Gary Wolstenholme MBE, three time European tour winner, said, "In the UK many sportsmen and women spend a lot of time outdoors and aren’t aware of the potential risk of sun exposure. Even with overcast skies, 30 - 40 per cent of UV will still penetrate through and figures show that if you work outside, like me, your risk of the skin cancer squamous cell carcinoma increases by almost 80 per cent. So when you are heading out to the course, as well as remembering to check your golf gear, check you have packed a hat and applied your sunscreen."

For more information on sun safety and skin cancer, including a video on how you can do a simple five minute skin check, visit the website

Check out your local golf club for these posters to be sun safe.

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