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For the Public

Skin Cancer

This section contains information about skin cancer, sunscreens, Sun Awareness, the literature you can order from us, and more:


There are two main categories of skin cancer - melanoma and non-melanoma. Melanoma (also known as 'malignant melanoma') is less common than non-melanoma cancers, but is the most dangerous. Non-melanoma skin cancers are mainly comprised of 'Basal Cell Carcinoma' (BCC) and 'Squamous Cell Carcinoma' (SCC). BCC is the most common and the least dangerous. In the menu below are fact sheets about each of the different types of cancer.

Diagram explaining skin cancer types.


Sun Awareness Campaign Sun Awareness - learn more about this year's campaign and what we have done in the past to raise awareness of skin cancer
  Leaflets & Posters - order our pack free of charge
  ABCD-Easy way to check your moles
  Tell your story to the media - find out more about becoming a skin cancer case study, to help raise awareness of the disease
Melanoma Taskforce
Information on the signs of skin cancer for well-being, hair and beauty professionals - find out more, and download the free guidance.
Sunbeds Sunbeds - our position statement, statistics and more
Skin Cancer - General Advice Sunscreen and skin cancer fact sheet - everything you need to know about sunscreen, sun safety, skin types, vitamin D and much more.
  Our top sun safety tips - our top 5 tips to preventing skin cancer from sun damage
  Sun Awareness Leaflets & Posters
  Do I need to pay to get a mole checked?
  Vitamin D and the sun
  Providing public information to prevent skin cancer: A summary of key messages to be included in public information resources for the primary prevention of skin cancer. This link opens the NICE website.
  Skin Cancer Hub - take a look at the South West Public Health Observatory's Skin Cancer Hub, which provides a vast range of information on the disease and prevention resources (N.B. link takes you to an external site) 
  Information regarding Compact Flourescent Lights
  British Photodermatology Group position statement on skin photoprotection
Melanoma and Moles Melanoma: an overview
  Melanoma Leaflets
Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer Basal Cell Carcinoma
  Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Skin Cancer Patients How to reduce risk of getting a second skin cancer
Transplant Patients Information about skin cancer for patients with an organ transplant
  Information about skin cancer for patients awaiting an organ transplant
  Images of Skin Tumours
Skin Disorders Linked to Skin Cancer Actinic keratoses
  Bowen's disease
  Mycosis fungoides
BAD Guidelines Please visit our Clinical Guidelines page for the latest guidelines

Top Sun Safety Tips

You don't have to avoid the sun all year, but taking a few steps when out and about in the summer sun or when on a sunshine holiday will help to protect you from sunburn and the risk of skin cancer.

  • Protect the skin with clothing, including a hat, t-shirt and UV protective sunglasses
  • Spend time in the shade between 11am and 3pm when it’s sunny 
  • Use a sunscreen of at least SPF 30 (SPF 50 for children or people with pale skin) which also has high UVA protection
  • Keep babies and young children out of direct sunlight
  • The British Association of Dermatologists recommends that you tell your doctor about any changes to a mole – if your GP is concerned about your skin, make sure you see a Consultant Dermatologist (on the GMC register of specialists), the most expert person to diagnose a skin cancer. Your GP can refer you via the NHS. 

Sunscreens should not be used as an alternative to clothing and shade, rather they offer additional protection. No sunscreen will provide 100% protection.The British Skin Foundation Skin Cancer Appeal is raising money for vital research into skin cancer. To donate, call the BSF on 0207 391 6341.

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