Research from the Teenage Cancer Trust has found that 70 per cent of students have never been encouraged to use sun cream before PE lessons.
The study, released as part of the UK charity’s Shunburn sun safety campaign, questioned 13 to 24-year-olds on their attitudes to sun safety and sport. As well as highlighting the lack of support for sun safety during sports from schools, the survey also demonstrates that young people are sacrificing sun safety for image.
More than half admitted that they never apply suncream or cover up for sport, while a fifth think hats are “uncool and look silly”. Two thirds of the respondents said they would never wear a hat while playing sport.
Rona MacKie, professor of dermatology at the University of Glasgow, warned that it is the damage done to skin when young that can increase the chance of developing skin cancer in later life.
She added: “Sun safety should be an integral part of young people’s daily routines and sports teachers and coaches need to play a part in advocating this. Any sports star will tell you that having red, sore, burnt, skin is neither cool nor comfortable when trying to do their best on the sports field.”
Simon Davies, chief executive of Teenage Cancer Trust, told SecEd: “With everyone’s focus on sport this summer, we need schools and clubs to help us educate young people to take care of their skin in the sun. By working together, we can help protect the future health of young people.”
Six young people aged between 13 and 24 are diagnosed with cancer every day.
The Teenage Cancer Trust can deliver free cancer awareness talks in schools across Scotland and offers free sun safety teaching packs. Visit www.teenagecancertrust.org/shunburn