Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Young Brits Disregard Skin Cancer Risks at Home


News Release
AXA PPP healthcare
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Young Brits disregard skin cancer risks at home, says new report

15 July 2014: Brits are underestimating the risks of sun exposure when home in the UK, according to a new AXA PPP healthcare investigation* into attitudes to sun protection, with 18-24 year olds being the biggest culprits.

The study, based on a poll of 2000 adults, reveals widespread misconceptions about sun protection in the UK, with clear divides between gender and age.

Only a quarter (26 per cent) of 18-24 year olds say they take their personal sun protection seriously when at home in the UK, always applying a high level of sunscreen. It’s not surprising therefore that half of the respondents in this group admit to having been sun burned one or more times while in Britain in the past 12 months. This compares with older, evidently sun-wiser, respondents. Just 14 per cent of those aged 55+ and 23 per cent of those aged 45-54 said they’d been burnt by the British sun in the past year.

Young un-sun-savvy in so many ways
·         Nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of 18-24 year olds think the sun in Britain is too weak and insufficiently dangerous for them to need sunscreen protection, compared with just 9 per cent and 10 per cent of those aged 55+ and 45-54, respectively.
·         Over two fifths (42 percent) of 18-24 year olds think they can’t get sunburn on a cloudy day in the UK, compared with 30 per cent of those aged 55+ and 32 per cent of those aged 45-54.
·         Over a third (37 per cent) of 18-24 year olds believe that spray-on tan will protect them from getting sun burn, compared with 14 per cent and 17 per cent of those aged 55+ and 45-54, respectively.
·         Nearly a third (31 per cent) of 18-24 year olds think that rubbing on vegetable oil will protect them from sun burn, compared with 10 per cent and 12 per cent of those aged 55+ and 45-54, respectively.
·         Lack of burn awareness even extended to dogs: only 39 per cent of 18-24 year olds knew that dogs can, in fact, get sun burn, compared with 56 per cent and 59 per cent of those aged 55+ and 45-54, respectively.

“It’s a surprisingly common belief that the sun is only strong enough to be harmful when abroad but people need to know that it can be just as dangerous in the UK and sun protection is not just something to think about when they go away on holiday,” says Dr Steve Iley, medical director for health services at AXA PPP healthcare.

Skin cancer is the UK’s most common cancer. Over 13,000 new cases of the most dangerous form, malignant melanoma, were diagnosed in 2011, along with over 100,000 cases of the less severe – and highly treatable – non-melanoma form of the disease. Excessive exposure to sunlight and increasing use of sunbeds are believed to have been major contributors to the growing numbers of people diagnosed with the disease since the mid 1970s.**

Dr Iley continues: “Sun safety messages seem to be getting through to older adults but it is clear that more needs to be done to raise the awareness of younger people. It’s a concern that malignant melanoma rates are disproportionately higher in younger people in the UK compared with those for other commonly occurring cancers. To prevent an increase in skin cancers in years to come, we need to start thinking about the damage too much sun can do, however old we are.

People are advised to consult their GP immediately if a mole develops any of the following signs:

·         changing shape, particularly getting an irregular outline
·         changing colour, getting darker, becoming patchy or multi-shaded
·         an existing mole getting bigger or a new mole growing quickly
·         if a mole starts to itch or become painful
·         if a mole is bleeding, becoming crusty and or looks inflamed.

In light of these findings, AXA PPP healthcare has partnered with the Karen Clifford skin cancer charity, Skcin, to help spread the word about the importance of sun safety. As a part of the charity’s sun safety educational work, the charity has written a children’s book entitled George the Sun Safe Superstar.  It’s part of its free Sun Safe Schools & Nurseries accreditation schemes which encourage children to remember the Five S’s of Sun Safety – Slip, Slop, Slap, Slide (on sunglasses) and Shade – and stay safe in the sun. Charlotte Fionda, development director at Skcin, says: “We’re very grateful to AXA PPP for its support in turning our George book into an animated film. Sun safety is critical for people of all ages – and especially so for children. Failure to protect your skin in the sun and allowing it to burn increases the risk of skin cancer. This is important to avoid because the increased risk that sun damage causes cannot be reversed at the present time.”

Despite the worrying findings, sun awareness seems to be changing for the better, with women outpacing men in the sunscreen stakes. Over four fifths (82 per cent) of women said they think more about using sunscreen nowadays than they did five years ago, compared with 73 per cent of men. On the other hand, when it came sun bed users, over three quarters of men (78 per cent) and women (77 per cent) said they had cut down on how much they’d used them in the past five years.

Women consistently dealt with sun risks better than men did – home and away. When abroad in a hot sunny country, over half (52 per cent) the women surveyed said they take their sun protection very seriously, always applying a high level of sunscreen when outdoors in daylight hours, compared with 43 per cent of men. Even at home in the UK during the spring and summer months, 30 per cent of women said they take their sun protection just as seriously as when abroad, compared with 26 per cent of men. And, when it comes to skin protection, women led the way in playing it safe. Nearly three quarters (71 per cent) of women said they used a sunblock factor of 20 or more for their personal protection, compared with 61 per cent of men.


“Of course it’s important to be careful in the sun but it’s not all bad news. Exposure to sunshine is one of the ways we get our vitamin D, lack of which can lead to bone weakness problems such as rickets and osteomalacia. It’s all about getting the right balance and protecting your skin from excessive exposure and burning – whether at home or away,” says Dr Iley.


AXA PPP healthcare’s Sun Aware Centre provides information and advice on personal or family health. Its Ask the Experts service is also available for medical questions; enquirers will usually receive a response from a healthcare expert within 48 hours.


*Online survey of 2000 UK adults conducted during May 2014 by market researcher One Poll.

**Skin cancer statistics, Cancer Research UK:

John DuBois / Ben Faulkner              AXA PPP healthcare press office                      01892 612822

Case study one

Young person sunburnt in the UK – Tom Bourlet, 25, Brighton

25 year old Tom Bourlet, writer of travel blog spaghettitraveller.com, has travelled to countless destinations across the globe, but never expected to get severe sun burn in the UK.

“I’ve been severely sun burnt on two occasions in the UK. First when I was 23 at the Beach Break festival in Wales, and this April in Bristol. I completely underestimated the warmth of the sun. I applied a small amount of sun lotion when I started to feel burn after around four hours of being outside, but it was far too late by then.”

“I only ever think about sun lotion when travelling abroad. You automatically reach for the lotion when you’re on holiday, but it’s just not something you tend to think about it in the UK. “It’s definitely something I’m more aware of since I have been burnt.”
Case study two

Living with sun damaged skin (morphoeic basal cell carcinoma) – Debbie, 50, Bournemouth



My name is Debbie married with three children, from sunny Bournemouth this is my story so far with living with skin cancer. At the age of 41 I was diagnosed with my first basal cell carcinoma (BCC) morphoeic type which is a more aggressive form of skin cancer (non-melanoma) that needs to be spotted at the early stages to avoid further disfigurement, especially on the face!

It started with me having a small spot like cyst on the side of my nose which didn’t heal after a few months and it just got bigger and formed a pearl like spot about 5mm in diameter. The first GP to have it checked said it was nothing to worry about but, after a couple of months with it, it was still not healing and was changing size and form and would often bleed. I had a second opinion from another GP and luckily he knew that it was a basal cell carcinoma and referred me on to a specialist for skin cancer treatment where I had it surgically removed. This was not a pleasant experience and to add to this, I was told at the time, I also had to have a second one removed just below my cheek bone. As a result, I was back again to have this removed and unlike the first, it required a skin graft.

So that year for me was the beginning of my journey living with basal cell carcinoma, caused by sun damage in my early years, meaning from now on to be extra careful with sun exposure. Knowing the damage had already started, I then had to have further surgery two years later to have a third removal on my eye lid. For this surgery, I had to go to the eye hospital and then a year later I had one removed from my back, then another from my stomach, leg and arms.

Already this year, now aged 47, I’ve had to have a fourth removal – this time done by Mohs surgery – on the other side of my nose. This is still in the process of healing as I write my story. I also have to go back again in a couple of months’ time to have yet another removal, which will be my fifth! This one is on the right side under my eye as the biopsy came back positive. I’m also to have a biopsy taken from my knee and arm and so it continues…

With all this treatment and surgery, has meant there is scarring, especially on my face, which has affected my confidence and self-esteem as a result. It has become tiring explaining to others that it’s been unfortunate for me having fun in the sun as a child and in my teen years with no knowledge that too much sun would cause skin cancer in my later years.

As a child, I had fair skin and hair, with green eyes and freckles on my nose, which my mum described as “I’d been kissed by the sun.” Little did I know the sun was causing damage to my skin! Growing up in the seaside town of Blackpool and only living five minutes’ walk away from the beach, meant my early childhood memories were of spending lovely hot summers down the beach. We had a few holidays abroad and I also did many outdoor activities such as horse riding and bike riding etc.

With my birthday being on 21st June, I had many happy parties in the sunshine with excess sun exposure, protected only by low factor sun cream. Back then my parents just said, “Mind you don’t get sun burnt or get sunstroke.”

Now as a parent of three and living in Bournemouth (another seaside town), my warning is not to get burnt or sunstroke and to keep in the shade between 11 and 3, as this is when the sun is at its strongest. I would also suggest wearing high factor sun screen to avoid the risk of developing skin cancer in your later years.

Back in my teens, us girls on holidays abroad would apply a coconut oil to our skin, which at the time, was the very thing to get a deep tan. Looking back, I now cringe, as I know now it was more frying my skin than protecting it.

So this is the reason for my story, to hopefully educate others that the sun can do serious damage to your precious skin, so be warned and take good care of it.

The update to my story now aged 50 is that unfortunately two years ago I had to undergo yet more BCC removal Mohs surgery on the left side to my nose, then more surgery as BCC had returned on the upper of my right side of my nose this time it was close to my tear duct which left me with a droopy eye so I then had to have further corrective surgery at the eye hospital.
Then, recently last month, I had to have a BCC removal from my back and then had to undergo yet again more biopsies on my face this time under my right eyelid and on the tip of my nose, and also a removal surgery on my shoulder. The biopsy results came back for my nose and lower eyelid positive to BCC so unfortunately for me again I've now to have more Mohs surgery again to my nose and lower eyelid. I've just now the anxious wait on my Mohs surgery appointment that could be any day soon. And so my never ending story goes on. I continue to hope sharing my story helps in education and prevention for others.

Notes to editors
About AXA PPP healthcare
AXA PPP healthcare has been helping people to access healthcare services since 1940. Today it forms the UK healthcare arm of AXA and provides cover for medical and dental care for individuals and employers, and employee wellbeing, counselling, occupational health and rehabilitation services through its specialist Health Services division.

About AXA
The AXA Group is a worldwide leader in insurance and asset management, with 160,000 employees serving 102 million clients in 56 countries. In 2013, IFRS revenues amounted to Euro 91.2 billion and IFRS underlying earnings to Euro 4.7 billion. AXA had Euro 1,113 billion in assets under management as of December 31, 2013.

In the UK AXA operates through a number of business units including: AXA Wealth, AXA Commercial Lines and Personal Intermediary, AXA Personal Direct and Partnerships, AXA PPP healthcare, AXA Ireland and an independent distribution business Bluefin. AXA employs over 10,500 staff in the UK.

The AXA ordinary share is listed on compartment A of Euronext Paris under the ticker symbol CS (ISN FR 0000120628 – Bloomberg: CS FP – Reuters: AXAF.PA). AXA’s American Depository Share is also quoted on the OTC QX platform under the ticker symbol AXAHY.

The AXA Group is included in the main international SRI indexes, such as Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) and FTSE4GOOD.

It is a founding member of the UN Environment Programme’s Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) Principles for Sustainable Insurance and a signatory of the UN Principles for Responsible Investment.

About Skcin
Skcin is a national charitable organisation targeting skin cancer in the UK. Its principle objective is to ensure that the danger of over-exposure to the sun is given greater profile with the emphasis on education resulting in the vital early detection of the disease. To find out more about the charity and its free resources for schools and nurseries visit http://www.skcin.org/.

Skcin Attend Sun Safe Assembly with MP Alistair Burt at Raynsford CofE Academy in Henlow

Skcin Attend Sun Safe Assembly with MP Alistair Burt at Raynsford CofE Academy in Henlow On Friday 18th July Skcin had the pleasure of attending a Sun Safe Assembly at Raynsford Church of England Academy, Henlow alongside Alistair Burt, MP for NE Bedfordshire. We were also able to present the school with their Sun Safe Schools Certificate, after their completion of Skcin’s Sun Safe Schools award scheme.

The children also enjoyed a first showing of an animated version of our ‘George The Sun Safe Superstar’ book, which they loved! Mr Burt then spoke to the children about his work as an MP in constituency and children in the schools own Owl Parliament had the opportunity to ask Mr Burt questions about life as an MP. Mr Burt was also presented with a collection of Sun Safe posters the children had created, which he promised to show the Health Minister, as Sun Safety is a very important subject.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Actinica Lotion® offers new hope for patients at high risk of Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer

Actinica Lotion® offers new hope for patients at high risk of Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer 

Galderma have announced that ACTINICA® Lotion is now available for the prevention of non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC) in high risk patients, including those who have had an organ transplant, undergone chemotherapy for malignant disease or have HIV/AIDS. It is the first and only medical device to demonstrate effectiveness in the prevention of NMSC.  There are an estimated 100,000 new cases of NMSC reported in the UK each year.

NMSC are more common but less aggressive than melanoma skin cancer, however evidence shows that rates of incidence and morbidity are increasing. People with a weakened immune system are at increased risk of developing NMSC.  Dr Claas Ulrich, Consultant Physician and Dermo-oncologist at the Skin Cancer Centre of the Charité University Hospital in Berlin, Germany said: “Although non-melanoma skin cancer is a growing issue across the UK, many of the most vulnerable populations are unaware that they are at increased risk of developing this cancer. These at risk groups need to take proactive steps to protect their skin in order to prevent this disease.”

Organ transplant recipients are 100 times more likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma (a type of NMSC) than the general population. People with HIV/AIDS are seven times more likely to develop skin cancer than the general population.  In these at risk groups the body is less able to find and destroy the damaged skin cells, in about four percent of cases the cancer spreads to other parts of the body, which can be fatal. NMSC represents one of the key challenges in the long term care of organ transplant patients, as skin cancer in immunosuppressed patients can be unusually aggressive.

ACTINICA Lotion has been specifically designed to protect people from ultra-violet (UV) light, which, is a key factor in developing NMSC. A study, published in the British Journal of Dermatology, found that two years of regular use of ACTINICA Lotion in organ transplant patients led to a 53% reduction of actinic keratoses lesions and prevented the development of new squamous cell carcinoma (types of NMSC).  Dr Ulrich explained: “As well as developing ACTINICA Lotion to be effective, we have worked to ensure it is accepted by patients. To encourage compliance we have minimised the greasy whitening effect and the need for frequent re-application that is common to many sun protections. This is why ACTINICA Lotion was chosen by most patients to be the study product in this trial.”

Sarah Sinstead, Product Manager, Galderma said: “Sun protection plays a vital role in reducing the progression of NMSC in at risk patient populations. We are very pleased to be able to offer a convenient and effective solution to preventing the damage caused to skin by UV light that can lead to skin cancer.”  ACTINICA Lotion contains a combination of photostable UV filters, which absorb, reflect and scatter a broad spectrum of UV radiation. It is highly effective in protecting skin from ultraviolet B (UVB) as well as from ultraviolet A (UVA) radiation. Its UVB and UVA protection level meets the highest category, “very high UV protection”, as established by the European Commission recommendation.

Actinic keratoses are dry scaly patches of skin that are caused by excessive sun exposure over many years. Actinic kerotoses are pink, red or brown in colour and range in width from 0.5 to 3cm. They may develop into the more serious squamous cell carcinoma. Squamous cell carcinoma starts in the cells lining the top of the epidermis (the top layer of skin) and accounts for approximately one-fifth of NMSCs. It is the second most common form of skin cancer in the UK.

Within the general population, people with fair-skin, blue-eyes, red or blonde-hair and who burn easily in the sun, are at particular risk. Men are more affected than women as are people who work outdoors or enjoy outdoor hobbies in which they are exposed to UV light more frequently. However, for those with a weakened immune system prevention is key.

Dr John Lear, Consultant Dermatologist at Manchester Royal Infirmary, said: "It is designed to be less frequent once daily application and non-greasy, non whitening to encourage easy use amongst high risk patients. It is proven to prevent skin cancer in a study in high risk transplant patients. NMSC is much more common than melanoma, perhaps 10 times more common.  "Actinic keratosis is a risk factor for skin cancer, but it is difficult to predict which will go on to become carcinoma."

For more information visit www.actinica.co.uk.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Virgin Hols Sun Sheriffs



Virgin Holidays is today announcing the introduction of a new initiative in all of its destinations as part of its ongoing partnership with leading safer sun awareness charity, SKCIN – ‘Sun Sheriffs’. Trained by SKCIN to spread the word about safer sun practises, and able to spot the first signs of someone burning in the high noon rays, the ‘Sun Sheriffs’ are a further demonstration of Virgin Holidays’ commitment to ensuring its customers well-being and to helping them unleash their mojo.

‘Sun Sheriffs’ will be patrolling Virgin Holidays resorts from May 2014, and rolling out over the coming months in time for summer holiday showdowns. Carrying holsters loaded with six-shooting suncream guns for midday draws, misting fans and safer sun literature, and sporting a distinctive uniform of a cowboy hat, badge and waistcoat, Virgin Holidays customers will have no trouble recognising the Sheriffs as they lay down the five laws of safe safety: Slip, Slop, Slap, Slide and Shade!

·       Slip…on a t-shirt to keep shoulders covered as they can easily burn
·       Slop…on SPF 30+ sun cream with Broad spectrum, 4STAR and UVA protection
·       Slap…on a broad brimmed hat to shade the face, neck and ears
·       Slide…on quality wrap around shades to protect your eyes
·       Shade…from the sun, particularly between 11am and 3pm when it is at its hottest

Nancy Hartford, Head of Overseas at Virgin Holidays comments: “It’s easy to forget all the education we’ve had about safer sun once we hit the beach so the Virgin Holidays Sun Sheriffs are going to be helping our customers to remain tan aware whilst they’re on holiday. Our partnership with SKCIN is the first of its kind for a holiday company and we’re delighted to be introducing this new service with them.”
Charlotte Fionda of SKCIN said:  “As a national skin cancer charity we know that the reality is many holiday makers are desperate for a tan and often go to extremes to achieve their golden glow.  We really need to change attitudes and behaviours towards over exposure to UV in order to reduce the soaring rates of skin cancer in years to come.  We all enjoy holidays and the sun and that should continue, but let's ensure people enjoy safer sun and take appropriate sun safe precautions.

“Virgin holidays’ Sun Sheriffs are a fun and practical way to get this message across.”

For more information on the importance of sun safety please visit: http://www.tanaware.co.uk/

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Skcin & AXA PPP Healthcare

We’ve teamed up with AXA PPP Healthcare to launch an innovative campaign about the sun.  Our campaign aims to bring about awareness to families, kids and grown-ups about sun safety. Have a look at the activity within our campaign on the links below, we hope you like it and will share the sun safe message far and wide!

1. Sun Aware information page on AXA Website

2. Interactive Sun Safety Guide

3. Kids Sun Safe Superstar competition via Facebook

We want kids to draw, paint or have a photo taken of themselves as a Sun Safe Superhero. Post your images on our Facebook gallery. The five lucky winners’ will be picked at random and used within our animated film from our book 'George the Sun Safe Superstar'.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Nottingham Nightwalk 2014 raises over £26K

On Friday 25th April 2014 our 2nd fundraising Nightwalk took place starting and finishing at Nottingham Forest FC and raising over £26K!  The Nightwalk the walk was lead by Sam Pinkham from gem 106, who donned a special pair of Speedos for the walk and completed, the optional dare to bare challenge to help raise awareness of the importance of getting your kit off and checking your skin! The walk was 7 miles in total (each mile representing one of the 7 people that die each day from skin cancer in the UK) and took a high visibility route around Nottingham as hundreds of participants lit up the streets of the city in what was undoubtedly a magical and uplifting challenge. Participants raised much needed funds for the charity ‘Skcin’ so that we may continue our concerted efforts to educate the UK on the prevention and vital early detection of the UK’s most common and fastest rising cancer.

A massive thanks to Fire & IceHooters and The Curry Lounge for their tasty treats to warm us all up as we passed by - a very generous contribution from them all.
Photos from the night have now been uploaded to the image gallery on the Nightwalk website, so please have a look through as there are some really great shots on there with more to come soon.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Virgin Holidays & Skcin hit Oxford St to promote Safer Sun & Tanuary!

Swimmer Mark Foster led a team of swimwear-clad models through freezing cold town centres as part of a Virgin Holidays' #Tanuary holiday sale.  The bodies were on show for bargain-hunting shoppers to admire on London’s Oxford Street as well as in Glasgow and Manchester.  Virgin Holidays are promoting responsible tanning - having set up a partnership with leading sun safety charity ‘SKCIN’.
Ambassador Foster, a multiple world champion, was not modest about the stunning spectacle on show.
“As the very first Tanbassador for Virgin Holidays I wanted to put a smile back on people's faces after the festive blow out, along with my human billboard team," he said.  Mark has also been encouraging people to 'Factor up' whilst on their holidays.

With sun safety in mind, it appears that Wolverhampton is the town which most loves a tan in the UK!  A Virgin Holidays survey of 2,000 people also showed that 60% of people said they feel their mood lifts by having a tan and 47% feel more attractive with a tan.  Virgin are working with Skcin to help holiday makers enjoy the sun safely.

Top 10 towns for liking a tan

  1. Wolverhampton 75%
  2. Aberdeen 67%
  3. Cardiff 66%
  4. Manchester 63%
  5. London 60%
  6. Birmingham 60%
  7. Glasgow 58%
  8. Newcastle 57%
  9. Bristol 57%
  10. Liverpool 54%