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Almost 12,000 cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in Ireland each year and, between 2005 and 2015, there was a 70 per cent increase in the incidence of both melanoma and non-melanoma, with 11,785 cases diagnosed in 2015.

At the launch of its annual SunSmart campaign, the Irish Cancer Society is encouraging the public to take measures to protect their skin, even on cloudy days.

Kevin O’Hagan, Cancer Prevention Manager with the Irish Cancer Society said, “Despite our cool and cloudy weather UV rays can reach our skin most days from April to September and cause damage that increases the risk of skin cancer. If the sun isn’t splitting the stones, many people seem to think that UV rays are not something we need to worry about but that is not true.

“You don’t have to be in a Mediterranean country for the sun to do damage to your skin and Irish people need to be aware of that. Whether it’s sunny or cloudy, everyone should protect their skin”, he warned.

With predictions of a warm bank holiday weekend ahead of us, the Cancer Society has offered a reminder of the SunSmart Cod, including; seeking shade between 11am and 3pm, wearing wraparound sunglasses with UV protection, using sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30 (re-applying at least every two hours), and keeping babies under six months out of the sun.

To check the UV index, you can visit www.cancer.ie/uvindex.