Quarter of Brits have never checked for Britain’s biggest cancer
Joint Press release from
6 February 2018
A Large Number of Brits Have Never Checked for Britain’s Biggest Cancer Risk
Nearly a quarter of Brits have never checked their skin for life-threatening changes, despite a surge in skin cancer deaths over the last decade, new research suggests.
One in four (23%) adults in Britain admit they have never checked for changes in appearance or number of moles on their skin, which can be a major warning sign of the disease.
The independent study of 2,027 people1 was commissioned by skin checking app
The study also revealed that three percent had a mole they were concerned about for more than three months, but hadn’t had it checked by a medical professional. With one in 50 currently having a persistently itchy or bleeding mole.
Surprisingly, 17% of Britain’s under-35s believed they were too young or weren’t exposed to the sun enough to develop skin cancer. Just under one in 10 under-45s (9%) thought they should only check their skin if advised to by a medical professional.
The self-checking message does seem to be sinking in for some though, with nearly a third (31%) doing monthly checks – the frequency recommended by the British Skin Foundation.
Almost a fifth of under 35s are now taking ‘selfies’ to monitor their skin for moles, with 18 percent using photos to document changes.
However, people are still taking risks with their skin health. One in 10 (11%) use tanning beds – 13% of which admit to sessions once or multiple times a week.
Only two-fifths of Brits (38%) say they always use sun cream when exposed to the sun and despite warnings about the dangers one in 20 under 35s (5%) say they rely on sunbeds for a winter tan.
Skin cancer is on the rise in Britain, with more than 100,000 new cases diagnosed annually and 2,500 deaths from the disease every year. Latest Government statistics3 indicate a 35.8% 10-year rise in skin cancer deaths.
Jon Friis, founder
Skin cancer is mainly caused by over-exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light. Non-melanoma skin cancers are the most common, with melanoma being one of the most dangerous.
On Sunday (4 February – World Cancer Day)
Notes to editors
1 Walnut Unlimited interviewed a nationally representative sample of 2,027 adults aged 18+ across GB between 12-15 January 2018. Surveys were conducted online and the results have been weighted and are representative of GB adults aged 18+. Walnut Unlimited is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. The survey was commissioned by
2 For one month (6 February – 6 March 2018) downloads of the
3 Latest ONS cancer statistics, May 2017. Table 12. Registrations of death from cancer: site and sex, England, 2005 to 2015. Based on malignant melanoma of the skin data.
Crucially, the app does not try to diagnose skin cancer or tell users that they are at risk or not. The detection of skin cancer is complex and should only be undertaken by qualified doctors – not apps.
About the British Skin Foundation
The British Skin Foundation is the only UK charity dedicated to raising funds for all skin diseases and skin cancer research. Their unwavering commitment to funding quality research means they won’t stop until they’ve found cures for common skin problems like eczema and acne through to potential killers like malignant melanoma. To
None of their work would be possible without the help of supporters and people who dedicate time and effort to fundraise for the charity and to raise awareness of skin conditions.
Kate Jones [email protected] +44 (0)161 694 3987/ +44 (0)7966 829143