A sun protection campaign for golfers launches on the 8th May to raise awareness of skin cancer, the UK’s most common and fastest growing cancer. Offering specialist tips and advice, the online resource will educate on the risks of overexposure to the sun to encourage better habits.
Devised by the Melanoma Fund, Slip! Slap! Swing! is supported by the sports largest organisations including; England Golf, Scottish Golf, Wales Golf, The PGA, the Golf Club Managers Association and the Golf Society of Great Britain. All will be working collaboratively to promote a multi-national media campaign, targeting the UK’s 4 million golfers. The sport is on the hot spot as:
- When: A round can lead to prolonged sun exposure during the hottest time of the day
- Where: Courses provide little shade, and highly UV reflective surfaces such as grass, water and sand
- How: Players tend to dodge sunscreen to avoid a ‘greasy grip’
Many golfers also believe their skin is ‘seasoned’ from years of UV exposure, or protected by a base tan, however, the highest mortality rates from melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer, are in older men who are less likely to use sunscreen, check their skin, or visit their GP with a concern.
Julia Newton-Bishop, Professor of Dermatology at the University of Leeds, says;
“Overexposure to the sun can cause all types of skin cancers, however, it is sunburn that is scientifically proven to increase the risk of melanoma by 50%, especially in those with skin which burns easily or with more moles than average. This vital campaign is a wake-up call; it is never too late to look after your skin.”
If you do nothing else
The campaign’s top 5 tips are:
1. Keep sunscreen (SPF30+), sunglasses, a hat and large umbrella in your summer kit bag.
2. Apply SPF30+ at least 20 minutes before teeing off to ensure it is effective.
3. Reapply SPF30+ every two hours, or around the 8th or 9th hole depending on your pace.
4. Use a chubby sunblock stick to protect lips, nose, and ears, which are all prone to burning.
5. Check skin every month or so and if you spot any changes, visit your GP immediately.
Get a grip!
The charity has recognised an issue between golfers and sunscreen, and it’s all about grip. Golfers and other sports people who need a ‘dry grip’ tend to avoid re-applying sunscreen during the day to avoid a ‘greasy grip’ which can affect performance. This can be solved by using a hands-free sunscreen applicator, which also avoids spraying product into faces and eyes, which is not recommended.
The Melanoma Fund has teamed up with Solar Buddies to promote ‘Solar Buddies Sport’, to encourages golfers and other sports-people to ‘get a grip’ on their sun protection habits. Solar Buddies will donate 10% from sales of their ‘sport’ applicator to the Melanoma Fund to support this campaign.
A short film featuring Jamie Cundy and Kenton Wright; two PGA Golf Professionals who have both had skin cancer, will be released to launch the campaign. Both players are keen to raise awareness of the issues and will send the message that ‘lowering your skin cancer risk should be just as important as lowering your handicap’.
Golf clubs across the UK will be urged to get involved by displaying posters in changing rooms and sharing the film and campaign link online. With summer heat-waves becoming more commonplace, the aim will be to arm golfers with the facts on protection, early detection, and prevention, keeping the sport healthy for everyone. For further information visit:www.melanoma-fund.co.uk/golf from the 8th May.