As I mentioned in my previous post I had contacted 98fm Dublin Talks about a meme picture they had shared on their site of two girls sunbathing in a car park titled “14 degrees and Ireland be like” well I waited nervously on Tuesday morning to go on air and all the messages of Good Luck were much appreciated and some made me laugh like my good friend Aisling who advised me to put on some Lippy for a confidence boost even though no one would see me, it was just as well they couldn’t me sitting up in bed looking like I had actually slept outside and surrounded by notes and open webpages as I wanted to make sure I didn’t give any misinformation. I convinced myself I would just be chatting to some guy on the phone of course that all went out the window when I could hear all the radio show whilst I was waiting on the line to speak. I knew the conversation would be mainly based around Sunbed use, but I also hopefully managed to steer the conversation towards Sun Safety and Skin Cancer in more general terms.

When I was confronted by the various callers I can say I was surprised by the total disregard for their own well being. Yes when your young you feel invincible, that will never happen me and I don’t care what happens me when I’m 40 or what I look like then attitude is partly human nature, but also lack of knowledge and life experience, some might think I am being generous to the callers coming to that conclusion and considering some of the comments that were also made on-line following the show. I know though first hand, what it’s like so I won’t make any personal judgement on any of the callers, that was me twenty years ago, I didn’t care diddly squat about what was going to happen to me when I was older it was all about the here and now but I also at the time had absolutely no warning signs that I was in any danger, now obviously back in the time of the dinosaurs when I was a child and going to Tramore, Clonea, Ardmore on my holidays we never had sun lotion available to us and I don’t remember any of the kids we played with using it either, today though we do and we know why it should be used so it is very upsetting as I heard during the week from someone returning from holidays abroad the amount of red sunburned children and adults that were on the her flight and you don’t even have to be on a flight, visit your local Irish beach on the first really hot day we get and you will see it too. People lying out roasting themselves like lobsters, yes it is their personal choice but is it the kids? I would love to see on Irish beaches more UV shade tents and kids wearing longer UV protection clothing and hats combined with liberal use of lotion and maybe delaying planning the trip so your not exposed to the midday sun, we have lovely long evenings why not wait till its a little cooler and less crowded to visit, easier to park and more room on the beach for a kickabout and castle building :-). If the parents want to tan, they must remember this is learned behaviour for their children if you want to protect them the very best thing is to lead by example. I was’t shocked to hear that lady talk about two children being snuck into a tanning booth for their Holy Communion, wherever there is some money to be made it will happen. Who is to blame the parent’s, the sun bed proprietor and yes our society in general who puts such value on ‘your tan looks fabulous’ attitude. Until such time as sunbeds can be banned completely if anyone is witness to the laws surrounding sunbed regulations being broken I would advise them to report that establishment to the HSE at http://sunbeds@hse.ie or telephone 091 737350 for more information regarding this matter.
The fact of the matter is we do have a long, long way to go in Ireland in terms of Sun Safety we all generally understand how unpleasant it is to get sunburn and I think parents are more proactive when it comes to applying sun protection lotions these day’s, but and it’s a big BUT people rely too much on sun lotion alone when it is not a magic protect all solution, in fact there is some research which actually links sun lotion with increased levels of Skin Cancer, not because it doesn’t protect but because people believe that as long as you slap on a bit of sun lotion your good to stay out in the sun for hours and hours, sun lotion is and never was intended to be a get out of Jail Free Card for Skin Cancer. We need to take much more responsibility and warnings about covering up, wearing a sunhat & sun glasses but also seeking shade whenever possible. This message has been proactively encouraged by the Australian authorities for a number of years and has had a very positive effect, they have seen a huge decrease of melanoma in their younger population something Ireland should strive for instead of the predicted increases of 150% in Irish women by 2040 and 357% in Irish men now is the time to act be prepared for the fine sunny days to come enjoy them but also be mindful of the power of the Sun and Sun beds to change your whole life in an one instant when a doctor sits in front of you and tells you that you have one of the most aggressive cancers there is always remember prevention is better option than surgeries, scans, blood tests, treatment side effects and living in a state of fear