Quarter of Brits have never checked for skin cancer

Nearly a quarter of Brits have never checked themselves for skin cancer, according to new research by skin checking app Miiskin, which has collaborated with the British Skin Foundation on a new campaign.

23% of adults said they have never checked for changes in their skin’s appearance, including the number of moles they have, which can be an important warning sign of the disease. 

A further 3% admitted they have a mole they are concerned about, and have been for more than three months, but haven’t had it checked out, while one in 50 said they had a mole that is persistently itchy or bleeding, the report found.

Although the self-checking message is greater now, with 31% of Brits doing monthly checks on their skin, 17% of millennials believe they are too young or haven’t been exposed to the sun enough to develop skin cancer. Meanwhile, 9% of under-45s said they thought they should only check their skin if advised by a medical professional.

The study also revealed that people are still using tanning beds irresponsibly despite industry guidelines around safe use, with 13% admitting to sessions once or multiple times per week.

38% of Brits also admitted they don’t use sun cream when exposed to the sun.

Skin cancer in Britain is on the rise, with more than 100,000 new cases diagnosed annually and 2,500 deaths from the disease every year, the British Skin Foundation revealed. This is backed up by the latest Government statistics which have indicated a 35.8% 10-year rise in skin cancer deaths.

Dr Anton Alexandroff, consultant dermatologist and British Skin Foundation spokesperson, said: “It’s important that people monitor their own skin regularly, to help track any changes which could be worrying. If any changes are noticed, the user can then visit their dermatologist for a medical assessment.”

The Miiskin app allows people to digitally track how their skin and moles look, with reminders to routinely check for changes. Jon Friis, founder and CEO, said: “With cases of skin cancer increasing in the UK, the self-checking message is starting to sink in for some, but not all.

“Keeping track of changes to your skin can be a challenge – and many people are now using technology to spot and document changes to their skin. Early detection is important for successful treatment.