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Friday 24 March 2023 Dublin: 8°C
burning skin via Shutterstock
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in Ireland and the numbers are rising
There’s been an 81 per cent increase in incidents since records began in 1994.

SKIN CANCER CASES in Ireland are on the increase and it’s being put down to our love of the sun.

The Irish Cancer Society have launched their annual SunSmart campaign to combat the increase in cases.

A report by the National Cancer Registry of Ireland (NCRI) highlighted the high levels of skin cancer in Ireland.

It found that there has been an 81 per cent increase in incidents since records began in 1994.

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in Ireland with over 10,000 new cases diagnosed in 2011. The NCRI expects this number to double by 2040.

The study also found that the largest increase in skin cancer cases were found in young people who live in affluent urban settings who are exposed to repeated sunburn, probably from leisure activities.

There were 408 cases of non-melanoma skin cancer in those aged 15-44 in 2005 compared to 569 cases in the same age group in 2011, an increase of 39 per cent.
“While this incidence rate may seem low, skin cancer is the most common cancer in this age group and the increase in incidence is a great cause for concern.”


Skin cancer is a disease of skin cells. Nine out of every ten cases are caused by UV rays from the sun or sunbeds and as such are preventable.

Overexposure to UV rays, which leads to tanning, redness or burning of the skin, causes damage to skin cells. While much of this damage is repaired some remains and can lead to skin cancer later in life.

In Ireland UV rays can reach skin most days from April to September.

The Irish Cancer Society is encouraging people to follow the four steps of the SunSmart Code for the best protection.

  • SEEK SHADE: when UV rays are at their strongest – between 11am and 3pm.
  • COVER UP: by wearing a shirt with a collar and long shorts. Also wear a hat that gives shade to your face, neck and ears.
  • WEAR WRAPAROUND SUNGLASSES: make sure they give UV protection.
  • SLOP ON SUNSCREEN: Use sunscreen with SPF 15 (SPF30 for children) or higher and UVA protection 20 minutes before going outside and re-apply every two hours – more often if swimming or perspiring. Keep babies under six months out of the sun.

You can also  check the Cancer Society’s UV Index daily to find out how high UV levels are in their area.


Read: Irish Cancer Society says law to regulate use of sunbeds doesn’t go far enough>

Read: New campaign demands long-awaited law to ban teenagers from sunbeds>

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