Dorset PCT

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Safer Sun - no harm done

NHS Dorset


Weymouth and Portland Locality GPs have highlighted the need to consider the

increasing prevalence of skin cancer in the South West.


Similar to the Slip Slap Slop initiative in Australia, the key messages of this

initiative are:

  • Slip on a t-shirt
  • Slap on a hat
  • Slop on some sun screen

This complements the Dorset Cancer Network project ‘Dazzle, Don’t Frazzle’

which raises awareness of the risks around sun bed use, and the Pharmacy

project ‘Healthy Hydration’ promoting the benefits of drinking plenty of water.

The ‘Safer Sun’ team (Beach control, lifeguards, students and volunteers), will

promote protection and awareness, offering free sachets of sun screen, UV

wristbands for children, stickers, information etc, during the holiday season from

late July to early September. They will also set a good example as wearing hats

and applying sunscreen is part of their daily routine. Taking a ‘young and cool’

approach the initiative will focus mainly on children and young people who are

deemed to be most at risk of skin cancer.


The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) provides evidence

to suggest that skin cancer is one of the most preventable forms of cancer. It also

details the importance of raising awareness about sun exposure and highlighting

risks. This guidance has been used to inform a website dedicated to skin cancer

prevention and early diagnosis from the South West Public Health Observatory – Further research also concludes that regular

use of sunscreens during the first 18 years of life is predicted to reduce the

lifetime risk of non-melanoma skin cancers by 78%.


Statistics provided by the South West Public Health Observatory tell us that the

incidence of skin cancer, particularly melanoma, is considerably higher in this part

of the country. NHS Dorset is shown to be 4th highest in terms of prevalence of

melanoma (1st , 2nd and 3rd being Plymouth, Oxford and Torbay respectively).

There has been a 30% increase in incidence in the last 5 years.


To find out more contact Celia Canter at




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