A nationwide campaign to warn golfers of the risks of sun exposure on the course, has been launched 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.
As the most common and fastest rising cancer in the UK, skin cancer is often found in those who spend time enjoying outdoor pursuits like golf. Each round of golf can chalk up an extra five hours of sun exposure and many of us underestimate the risk of sun damage.
Although sunburn settles down after a few days, repeated sun exposure builds up over the years into sun damaged skin, which means that there is an increased risk of developing skin cancer.
Charlotte Fionda, Director of Skcin, said: "Every year in the UK 112,000 cases of skin cancer are diagnosed, with only 10 per cent of those 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.”
To lead the campaign, 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 applying SPF30+ broad spectrum UVA sunscreen 30 minutes before teeing off, ensuring a good coverage on face, neck, ears and keeping a bottle in your golf bag to reapply regularly.
They also advise players to wear protective clothing such as a hat to shade the face and check the UV forecast before you play.
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 this website: www.checkskinchanges.com.