Local Community Groups link up with UCF’s ManAlive Project to promote the sun protection message

August 2, 2011

by Brónagh Murphy

Community groups throughout the south Armagh area are teaming up with the Ulster Cancer Foundation’s Man Alive project to help promote sun awareness and skin cancer prevention.

The Rural Health Partnership and St. Patrick’s GFC, both based in Cullyhanna, are just two of such groups who are actively taking part in the programme.

Teresa Nugent from the RHP expressed the group’s delight in being involved.

“We are delighted to be working with UCF’s ManAlive team to bring this very important message to our local community,” she said.

“Those living in rural communities are frequently outdoors in the sun for long periods of time, not only to enjoy the environment but often because of the nature of farming and construction jobs. As well as skin cancer, over- exposure to the sun also causes skin damage, ageing, wrinkling and eye damage, so it is vital that we take the necessary measures to protect ourselves to safely enjoy sport, outdoor work and other outdoor activities.”

Chairman of St. Patrick’s GFC, Frank Lloyd said the club is fully supportive of the initiative. He says players are encouraged to use sun protection during matches and prolonged exposure to the sun, adding that sun screen protection is available in the club’s changing rooms for players.

Mairead McCann, UCF’s Man Alive Health Promotion Nurse revealed that research shows that over-exposure to the sun and sunburn are closely related to developing skin cancer.

“In Northern Ireland very few of us use sun protection when we are at home but the fact is you don’t need to leave home to get sunburned or to get skin cancer.

“Skin cancer is the most common cancer in Northern Ireland and accounts for 28% of all cancers diagnosed. Around 2,500 people develop it each year.”

In 2008, almost 300 people in Northern Ireland were diagnosed with malignant melanoma, the most aggressive form of skin cancer – 136 men and 161 women.

“Over a 25 year period the number of cases of malignant melanoma has almost trebled. Melanoma is most common between the ages of 40-60 years but a significant number of cases occur in people under 35. Taking action to reduce exposure to UVR now could make a significant contribution to preventing skin cancer developing later in life,” she added.

The ManAlive van will be attending Cullyhanna in September and will offer free confidential health checks for all men. ManAlive is funded from the Big Lottery Fund Reaching Communities Programme.

For further information about taking care in the sun please log on to the Care in the Sun website