Devon a blackspot for skin cancer

Statistics among the worst in the country.

RATES of skin cancer in Devon are among the worst in the country, according to statistics just released.

Health profiles published yesterday (Tuesday) by the South West Public Health Observatory show that, while people in Devon generally enjoy better than average health, skin cancer rates high.

In the South Hams, the rate is the 6th highest of the 324 local authority areas in England, while Teignbridge is at 11th place. In both, incidence of malignant melanoma is double the national average.

East, Mid and North Devon also appear as significantly worse than the England average.

Rates have been rising over two decades, and NHS Devon, backed by charities and the RNLI, is aiming to raise awareness about the risks of too much sun and encourage people to protect their skin.

The SunSafe in Devon campaign urges people to follow simple precautions, which are:

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• Wear a hat and sunglasses

• Keep your shirt on if you are out all day

• Seek shade at the hottest part of the day

• Use sun cream – apply plenty and repeat throughout the day

• Stay away from sun beds

• Check your moles and seek advice if they change

• Make sure children, especially, never burn

The data shows that women are more likely to suffer sun damage on their legs, and men on their torso – reflecting the fact that women are more likely to tan their legs, while men will take their shirts off in sunny weather.

More information on the health profiles can be found at