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Information about preventing cancer and the lifestyle changes you can make

IntroductionSkin Cancer Safety


It’s never too late to make healthy lifestyle changes.

You can lower your risk of developing cancer by

  • A healthy balanced diet and keeping to a healthy weight
  • Drinking less alcohol
  • Stopping smoking
  • Protecting your skin from harmful sun damage

Look out for changes to your body, such as new lumps and bumps and unexplained bleeding. Check yourself regularly. Don’t ignore a change in your body. Get it checked by your doctor.

Many cancers can be controlled and cured if they are picked up early, so take advantage of free screening.

If you are aged 60 to 74 you will automatically be invited for bowel screening every two years. People aged 75 and over, can request screening by phoning the free helpline on 0800 707 60 60.

All women aged 50 to 70 are invited to attend mammograms every three years at a hospital or mobile screening unit. After the age of 70, women can make their own appointments for screening every three years. Women aged 25 to 64 are also invited for cervical screening.

You can find more information about preventing cancer on the NHS website.

Skin Cancer Safety

Exposing your child to too much sun may significantly increase their risk of skin cancer later in life. Covering up, staying in the shade and using sunscreen are the best ways to protect you and your children against the sun.

And it’s not just when you’re on holiday abroad you need to think about slapping on the sunscreen, the sun can be just as strong in the UK. People often get caught out when they are not expecting it, like when out for a walk or playing in the garden.

Trudi Grant, Director of Public Health, Somerset County Council said: “Being out in the sunshine is a great way for children to be active and get the Vitamin D their bodies need. But it’s crucial they don’t get too much sun and avoid sunburn.”

Top safety tips

  • When the sun is strong encourage your child to play in the shade for example, under trees or a parasol, especially between 11am and 3pm when the sun is at its strongest.
  • Keep babies under six months old out of direct sunlight, especially around midday.
  • In strong sun cover your child up in loose, baggy cotton clothes, such as an oversized t-shirt with sleeves or get them to wear a floppy hat with a wide brim that shades their face and neck.
  • Shade and clothing are the best ways to protect skin from sunburn, but sunscreen can be a great line of defence for parts of the body that clothes can’t cover. Use at least SPF 15 and 4 star UVA rating sunscreen. Don’t forget to apply it to their shoulders, nose, ears, cheeks and the tops of their feet and reapply often throughout the day.
  • Protect your child’s eyes with sunglasses that meet the British Standard (BSEN 1836:2005) and carry the “CE” mark (check the label or ask the manufacturer)
  • If your child is swimming use water resistant sunscreen and reapply regularly, especially after towel drying.

Tom Stansfeld, Cancer Research UK’s health information officer, said: “Tanning is a sign your skin is trying to protect itself from sun damage – and sunburn is a clear sign that damage, which could lead to skin cancer, has already occurred.”

More information
NHS – How to apply sunscreen
Ways to enjoy the sun safely

Last reviewed: November 6, 2023 by Paul

Next review due: May 6, 2024

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