Hotter Summers may Fuel Increase in Skin Cancers, Doctors Warn

Fateha Khawaja
October 11, 2022

Over summer, the UK experienced record temperatures of 40.2 degrees celsius, and experts are warning that there could be a potential increase in the cases of skin cancers due to prolonged exposure to UV radiation. Data collected by Cancer Research UK suggests that skin cancer death rates are already increasing rapidly, with the number tripling for men in the UK since the 1970s. Michelle Mitchell, the chief executive of Cancer Research UK warns that getting sunburnt once every two years triples the risk of getting skin cancer. With higher temperatures likely to become more frequent both during summer and all year round, it is important people know of ways to protect themselves from skin cancer.


Food for Thought

Effects of climate change on health

The figure below made by the WHO perfectly summarises some of the detrimental effects climate change can have on our health. The direct health effects include heatstrokes and dehydration, skin damage from harmful UV radiation, worsening of certain respiratory conditions - e.g. asthma. Indirect health effects include an expansion to the regions where mosquitoes thrive, so we may see an increase in conditions such as malaria in areas not previously associated with it. Climate change can also cause floods and displacement, leading to food insecurity, malnutrition, poor hygiene, and so on. How may the 'vulnerability factors' in the image below make someone more affected by climate change?ย 



Public health campaigns

It is important to consider the impact of public health campaigns can have on the opinions of the population and what they consider tobe important. The โ€˜Be Clear on Cancerโ€™ campaign was launched in 2010 by CancerResearch UK and it was found to be effective in England in raising public awareness on early signs of cancer and subsequently contributed to more early cancer diagnoses. Having an effective public health campaign in summer to encourage people to use adequate sun protection could lead to fewer cases of advanced skin cancers. What do you think is the best way to get this message across?ย 


Practice Interview QUestions

Interview practice questions

  1. How do you think climate change will go onto affect health in the future?
  2. If you were the health minister, what would you do to bring more awareness to the dangers of not protecting yourself from the sun?
  3. Why do you think people consider protecting themselves from the sun/skin cancer to not be that important, compared to something like quitting smoking?


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