Understanding skin 'key' to lowering skin cancer risk

People who expose their skin to the sun should ensure they understand their skin type, an expert in the field has said.

Kimberley Carter, from the British Association of Dermatologists, warned that not knowing what type of skin they have could leave people at risk of getting burned or more severely, developing skin cancer.

The sun should certainly not be avoided all together, she said, but those with fair skin are at particular risk of burning easily and quickly on sunny days.

"Sunlight stimulates the skin to produce vitamin D. Whilst a lack of vitamin D may cause health issues in some people, it is known that over-exposure to UV light can damage the skin and lead to skin cancer," she said.

Earlier this month, at the Britain Against Cancer conference, health secretary Andrew Lansley pledged better cancer services on the back of reforms in the NHS.

Britain falls behind many other European countries for cancer survival rates and this is often blamed on late diagnosis.

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Understanding skin 'key' to lowering skin cancer risk
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