Published: July 12, 2013
Burnham-On-Sea sunbathers given skin cancer warning by council

With the heatwave showing no end in sight, Burnham-On-Sea's sun-worshippers have this week been asked to help improve Somerset's skin cancer record.

Rates of malignant melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer, are 45 per cent higher in Somerset than the average for the rest of England, according to new figures.

Somerset County Council’s Public Health team is urging sunbathers to make themselves aware of the dangers and take steps to reduce the risk.

Dr Ulrike Harrower, Consultant in Public Health at Somerset County Council, said: "In weather like this most of us want to get outside and make the most of it. A few simple steps can help you enjoy the sun while avoiding sunburn and the dangers that come with it."

"Getting a painful sunburn just once every two years can triple your risk of developing melanoma. Most people don’t get sunburnt when they’re sunbathing, it’s when they’re out doing other things like sport or gardening – so don’t get caught out."

Figures for malignant melanoma come from 2008-2010. During that period nearly 500 people in Somerset developed the most deadly form of skin cancer, ranking Somerset 8th highest out of 151 Primary Care Trust areas.

Meanwhile, Burnham-On-Sea residents have also this week been urged to keep an eye out for elderly or frail people who may be struggling to cope in the heatwave.

Somerset County Council is asking neighbours, friends and relatives to keep an eye out for anyone who may need help maintaining their health as the temperatures soar.

Somerset County Council's health and well-being cabinet member Christine Lawrence, said: "Intense heat can be as perilous to health as the cold, with the effects of dehydration or heatstroke being severe and the symptoms often coming on very quickly."

"Making sure someone is keeping their home cool, drinking plenty of water and not having to do any strenuous activity in the heat will go a long way to keeping them healthy."


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