The majority of Britons underestimate their risk of skin cancer, meaning that they are less likely to protect their skin in the sun and may put themselves at greater risk of needing cancer treatment in the future.
A survey by the British Association of Dermatologists found that 85 per cent of people did not realise skin cancers made up a third of all cancers in the UK.
One in eight did not know that skin cancer is on the rise, despite the fact that figures are doubling every ten to 20 years.
As a result of this laid-back attitude, a quarter of people never bother to check their skin for signs of possible skin cancer and half do not even know what to look for.
"While it is disheartening that there is little understanding about quite how common skin cancer is, what I find of particular concern is that so many people are unaware of certain signs of skin cancer, and furthermore do not know that they can have a suspicious mole checked free of charge," said Dr Colin Holden, president of the British Association of Dermatologists.
"This could pose a huge obstacle to the early detection of skin cancer in these individuals," he warned.