Swedes sunbathe - despite the risks

James Savage
James Savage - [email protected] • 9 May, 2006 Updated Tue 9 May 2006 12:51 CEST

One in four Swedes got sunburn last year after sunbathing in their gardens or on their balconies. Nearly the same number of Swedes got burnt on a beach abroad, according to a new survey by the Swedish Radiation Protection Authority (SRPA).


Every year over 300 people die in Sweden due to Malignant Melanoma, a form of skin cancer primarily caused by exposure to the sun's rays.

The survey comes at the same time as a report from the World Health Organization, which shows that incidence of Malignant Melanoma is growing faster in Sweden and Norway than in any other part of the world.

But Jan Lapins, consultant dermatologist at the Karolinska University Hospital in Huddinge, Stockholm, said the rise in skin cancer cases could slow down in future decades thanks to parents' increased vigilance over their children's habits.

"Adult behaviour regarding their own sunbathing is hard to change, but it has proven easier to make them willing to protect their children. This will have a major effect in a few decades," he said.

But the survey from the SRPA showed there is still some way to go in changing habits. The responses showed that Swedes had good knowledge of the risks of sunbathing. However, many parents still allow their children to spend a long time in the sun, despite the fact that childhood sunburn increases the risk of skin cancer in later life.


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