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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

Public urged to be UV aware and protect against the most common form of cancer in NI

As temperatures are set to reach a high of 26°C throughout the coming days in Northern Ireland the Public Health Agency (PHA) and Cancer Focus Northern Ireland are highlighting the importance of being UV aware and to stay safe in the sun.

They are encouraging the public to be more aware of the UV index and remind them that over-exposure to UV rays can cause permanent damage to your skin. They also stress that care in the sun is vital even on the cool, cloudy days that are common here in Northern Ireland.

Denise McCallion, Health and Social Wellbeing Improvement Manager at the PHA, said:

At this time of the year, UV levels are often 3 or more even on cool or cloudy days and the rays from the sun can be strong enough to damage our skin and eyes. Your skin is damaged by sun exposure over your lifetime, whether you burn or not. So, along with spending time in the shade, covering up and wearing hats and sunglasses, it is important to use and get the best from your sunscreen to protect your skin from cancer, make sure your sunscreen has an SPF of at least 15 and UVA of 4 stars. Apply your sunscreen 30 minutes before going outdoors and reapply at least every 2 hours.

“Everyone is at risk of UV damage, but certain groups are particularly at risk including babies and children, those with fair hair and skin, outdoor workers and people with a family history of skin cancer. Just one episode of sunburn, especially in childhood, can double the lifetime risk of malignant melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer.”

Naomi Thompson, Health Improvement Manager, said:

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in Northern Ireland, accounting for over 31% of all cancers. About 4,210 people develop the disease each year and around 387of these are malignant melanomas, the most serious kind.

“There are a plenty of simple steps you can take to help protect against harmful UV rays and reduce your risk of skin cancer.”

  • Know the UV index and when it’s three ormore, protect your skin andeyes;

  • Seek shade when the UV rays are strongest between 11am and3pm;

  • Cover up in the sun with along sleevedt-shirt and a broad brimhat;

  • Wear sunglasses that have CE or British Standard Marks which carry a UV 400 label and offer 100% UV protection. This will ensure they provide adequate protection from both UVA andUVB;

  • Sunglasses should fit your face well and relatively snugly so that light doesn't enter your eye from around thelens;

  • Use sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 15 for UVB protection and UVA 4+ stars.

For more information and advice on how to protect your skin visit You can check the daily UV level on the Met Office website.


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