New research project aims to cut skin cancer by changing tanning perceptions

Published 13th Jun 2024 by PB Admin

A new research project led by Swansea University is aiming to cut cases of melanoma by educating children about tanning

New stats from charity Cancer Research UK predicted there will be a record 20,800 cases diagnosed this year – up from an annual average of 19,300 between 2020 and 2022. 

The new project will develop a sun-safety educational toolkit to be used in the Welsh curriculum. 

SunChat: Sun Safety Conversations about Healthy Attitudes to Tanning, will explore the subject using three key methods. 

  1. Workshops with school children aged five to eight, to understand their perceptions of tanning and their existing sun-safety habits.

  2. An online multiple-choice survey with parents and carers of primary school children to better understand their attitudes and behaviours towards tanning, both for themselves and their children.
  3. An informal online focus group with primary school educators, to better understand their current perceptions of tanning. 

Funded by the Morgan Advanced Studies Institute (MASI), SunChat is a collaboration between Swansea University’s Department of Education and Childhood Studies, the Swansea Trials Unit, and Cardiff and Vale University Health Board.

Dr Julie Peconi of Swansea University Medical School, one of the lead researchers for SunChat, said: “We know that overexposure to the sun as a child greatly increases the risk of skin cancer in later life, making early and accessible sun safety education and promotion of sun-safe behaviours key.

““Through SunChat, we hope to raise awareness of the importance of challenging and changing the common assumption that having a tan is desirable. 

“The Curriculum for Wales, with its designated area for Health and Well-being and autonomy for schools in designing curriculum, is the ideal opportunity to support schools in empowering and educating children to become healthy and informed adults, alleviating unnecessary pressure on future NHS dermatology services and care."

Sun safety has been high in the headlines this summer, with a number of new campaigns reigniting the call to scrap VAT on SPF products.

Amy Callaghan, MP for East Dunbartonshire, Scotland, has been one of the leading voices in the call. Find out about more her mission to get VAT removed from SPF products permanently.

PB Admin

PB Admin

Published 13th Jun 2024

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