THE UL Hospitals’ Group is supporting an initiative to help Clare people reduce the possibility of contracting skin cancer when the intensity of sunburn producing ultraviolet radiation (UV) is greatest, writes Dan Danaher.
The Irish Skin Foundation (ISF), Dr Sinead Field, Consultant Dermatologist at University Hospital Limerick, the HSE’s National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP), and the Healthy Ireland SunSmart campaign have joined forces with the group to launched a series of five video animations.
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in Ireland, with more than 13,000 cases diagnosed annually. This is twice the number compared to 10 years ago, and is projected to more than double again by 2045. Yet, most skin cancers could be prevented.
Dr Field, Consultant Dermatologist, University Hospital Limerick, said traditional health promotion campaigns have had to be reimagined in light of Covid-19 public health restrictions.
“Our aim in developing these animations was to bring the SunSmart messaging to life by creating a novel skin cancer awareness campaign in response to these changed circumstances and explore how digital health promotion initiatives can support all of us in adopting healthy sun protective behaviours.”
School holidays are here. There are simple things you can do to reduce the risk of sunburn and keep children safe in the sun this summer. Protecting children's skin from the sun reduces their skin cancer risk. ⛱️ Visit: https://t.co/ow3iXbVTAe #SunSmart @MetEireann pic.twitter.com/U3PtqkOn56
— HSE Ireland (@HSELive) June 25, 2021
The messaging throughout the video series highlights key skin cancer preventative behaviours and focuses primarily on the four priority groups identified in the National Skin Cancer Prevention Plan 2019-2022; children and young people, outdoor workers, those who participate in outdoor leisure activities and sunbed users.
The videos encourage people to follow the SunSmart 5 S’s: slip-on clothing that covers your skin, slop on sunscreen, slap on a wide-brimmed hat, seek shade, and slide on sunglasses.
Dr Triona McCarthy, Director of Public Health, HSE NCCP comments, “With Covid-19 restrictions easing as we move further into summer, people have more opportunity to enjoy getting outside.
“The videos contain simple reminders on how easy it is to enjoy the sun safely, as we go about our daily activities whether that be work or play. By following the SunSmart 5S’s we can mind our skin and reduce our risk of skin cancer.”
— HealthyIreland (@HealthyIreland) June 28, 2021
The videos will be played on visual display units throughout ULHG hospitals and hospital social media channels this summer, as part of a research initiative to evaluate the effectiveness of these assets in raising awareness of sun protective behaviours amongst staff.
To view the videos and learn more about being SunSmart visit the ISF website: www.irishskin.ie, the HSE website: hse.ie or the SunSmart hub. Follow the #SunSmart campaign on social for more information.