Angling Trust supports campaign warning anglers of risk of skin cancer

The Angling Trust is supporting a new campaign raising awareness of the risks of skin cancer and other dangers to health from being out in the sun without adequate protection.

Sunguarding Sport, run by the Melanoma Fund, aims to educate people – including anglers – who routinely exceed the recommended UV exposure limits when taking part in sporting or leisure activities.

Figures show that only 50% of people taking part in activities outdoors adequately protect themselves from the sun. There are around 16,700 new melanoma skin cancer cases in the UK every year, that’s 46 every day. Melanoma skin cancer is the fifth most common cancer in the UK, accounting for 4% of all new cancer cases.

Rates for non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC) are even higher. Since the early 1990s, rates of NMSC have risen in the UK by 170%, with over 156,000 cases reported in 2020 – a staggering 430 people a day receiving a diagnosis that could have been mainly prevented with adequate sun protection.

With a mini-heatwave forecast for mid-May, the Sunguarding Sport initiative is a timely reminder to seek protection from the sun.

Bob Roberts, Angling Trust Ambassador and all-round angler, knows only too well the risks of exposure to the sun after he received treatment for skin cancer a few years ago.

“Anglers spend a lot of time next to water. Not only do the sun’s rays shine down on us, but they also reflect at us from the surface of the water,” said Bob.

“We are constantly exposing ourselves to the risk of getting skin cancer, yet we can avoid the threat simply by applying sun blocker or covering exposed areas of our skin before we go fishing. If you are an angler, do yourself a favour and slap on the suncream. It’s a small precaution to take if it means avoiding a great degree of pain and worry.”

The Sunguarding Sport campaign recommends five tips anglers should follow to avoid the risk of skin cancer:

  • UV radiation cannot be seen or felt, so check the UV Index daily, and use sun protection when it reads three or over.
  • A fishing session can last for hours, so get into the habit of being sun prepared before you start any outdoor activity.
  • Sunscreen can wear, wash, rub or sweat off, so reapply every two hours or more often when around water.
  • To avoid a greasy grip, use a sunscreen applicator or clean palms with a small towel and alcohol gel.
  • When removing clothing on a warm day, remember to apply sunscreen to all newly exposed areas of skin.

The NHS recommends high-factor sunscreen, dressing sensibly in the sun, and limiting the amount of time that you spend outside during the hottest part of the day. They also advise you check your skin for signs of skin cancer regularly, to help lead to an early diagnosis, increasing your chance of successful treatment.

Michelle Baker, CEO of the Melanoma Fund, said: “With the spotlight on health and welfare, Sunguarding Sport aims is to get all sports and outdoor recreational organisations involved to help improve sun protection habits and impact skin cancer.”

The Melanoma Fund have created a toolkit of materials to raise awareness of sun protection, including posters for clubhouses or fisheries, leaflets for distributing at events and artwork for sharing on social media platforms or websites. For more information, click the link here:

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