Region's skin cancer rates soar above national average

Children enjoying a donkey ride on the beach - but how many are aware of the hidden dangers of the sun? Credit: ITV News

As the schools break up across the West Country and the summer holiday begins, there are more stark warning from doctors who say that getting sun burnt can have dire consequences.

The latest figures show the rate of skin cancer across our region soars above the national average - with some areas experiencing nearly double the amount of melanoma cases. Last year 300 people died in the South West alone.

Below are the shocking statistics which shows how much percent higher we are compared to the national average:













A doctor from the Bristol Children's Hospital says that youngsters are particularly susceptible to the heat. Dr Timothy Burge warned burning as a child can have far more serious implications later in life.

As part of our Under The Skin investigation, Kylie Pentelow went to get his advice:

Here our Kylie's top tips for staying safe in the sun:

  • Cancer Research UK recommends a Sun Protective Factor of at least 15 and many doctors I've spoken to advise to go higher - They also say to make sure it has at least a four star rating to protect against ultraviolet light.

  • Ensure you put enough on - around two teaspoons for just your face, arms and neck and two tablespoons for your entire body.

  • Reapply regularly - it's easily rubbed, sweated or washed off. So the advice is reapply every two hours.

  • Wait at least 30 minutes before you go out in the sun after putting it on, otherwise it won't protect you.

  • Make sure you check the expiry date on your bottle - most have a long shelf life, but keeping them in the sun will reduce this and could even ruin the protective chemicals.