HC Deb 24 May 1995 vol 260 cc591-2W
Mr. Congdon

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what information campaigns her Department is funding to increase understanding and awareness of the dangers of exposure to the sun; [24578]

(2) what work her Department has undertaken in the past year to raise awareness of the dangers to the skin of exposure to sunlight; [24579]

(3) what steps her Department is taking to ensure that children are protected from exposure to the sun during the summer months; and if she will make a statement. [25477]

Mr. Sackville

Skin cancer is a serious public health problem—and one that is largely preventable. In pursuit of "The Health of the Nation" strategy to halt the year on year increase in the incidence of skin cancer, the Department is collaborating with a number of organisations on a range of initiatives and "health alliances" aimed at tackling skin cancer. These include: surveys on behaviour and attitudes to sun exposure in order to refine targeting of action; research projects on the nature of skin cancer to help provide a better understanding of prevention and treatment strategies; the issue of comprehensive guidance to the NHS on local skin cancer prevention strategies; public information initiatives, such as ultraviolet radiation levels on Television weather forecasts; a Freephone Helpline, and a factsheet on UVR from the National Radiological Protection Board; the launch of a "sun know-how" programme of skin cancer prevention initiatives by the Health Education Authority involving more than 1,000 local organisations; the issue earlier this month of "Sun Awareness and Protection Guidelines for Schools" to encourage the implementation of prudent sun protection policies in schools; most recently, the launch of a poster from the Cancer Research Campaign and the Department aimed specifically at primary health care teams giving prevention and early diagnosis advice.

In addition, the Health Education Authority is participating in a Sun Awareness Week starting on 5 June, when a number of mainly local events will be mounted.

The Department will continue to work actively with others to reduce the rising incidence of skin cancer over the next decade and beyond.

Forward to