TOO much emphasis on the dangers of skin cancer could be doing serious harm to the public, according to an expert.
Dr Richard Weller is a dermatologist who’s conducting research work at Edinburgh University looking at the benefits of sunshine.
He reckons he’s trying to redress the balance. He told Tonight:
Reporter Kylie Pentelow investigates the advantages and disadvantages of sunshine for the Tonight's: “How Safe is a Sun Tan?”.
Dr Weller reckons that too many experts so far have concentrated on the bad side of sunlight.
Currently he is researching the potential for sunshine to lower high blood pressure.
“You’re about a hundred times more likely to die of a high blood pressure related disease like a stroke or a heart attack than you are of skin cancer,” he tells Kylie.
But he admits there’s a problem.
Every year nearly 150,000 people are diagnosed with skin cancer. A large majority survive it - especially when it’s caught early.
But the most lethal form - malignant melanoma - still takes 2,500 lives annually.
Kylie’s dad David died of skin cancer which is why she wanted to make the film.
Kylie meets Linda Rogers who is a self-confessed sun worshipper with a secret.
Linda goes for a full body scan to see if she has any atypical moles to show for 30 years of sunbathing holidays topped up by regular sunbed use.
She’s relieved that she hasn’t.
But a horrified Linda is given advice that she doesn’t want to hear from Dr Kapil Bhargava, Dermatologist at the London Mole Clinic.
He wants her to replace her low factor sun creams for factor 50. And to use fake or spray on tans rather than sitting out in the sun.
The programme also explodes some sun cream myths with the help of consumer organisation Which?
Nikki Stopford explained that the most expensive SPF factor creams were not always the best value.
She also looked into once a day sunscreens and sunscreen in make-up.
See more at 7:30pm on Thursday 17th August on ITV as Kylie Pentelow investigates How Safe is a Sun Tan?
Websites that may be of interest:
NHS ABCDE of Moles : a slide-guide to checking moles