Cancer Focus Tells Pupils To Protect Their Skin This Summer


With summer well on its way, Primary 5 children across Northern Ireland are  learning about how intense the sun actually is with the help of the Cancer Focus Northern Ireland Sun Scientist project.sun

The charity has sent Sun Scientist packs to 167 primary schools that have signed up as part of the Cancer Focus NI Schools’ Health Education Package (SHEP) this year.

Niamh McDaid, Cancer Focus NI’s Cancer Prevention Officer, said: “Children are learning about sun intensity, investigating when the sun’s intensity is greatest and ways to reduce the risk of UV damage, including staying in the shade, covering up and using sun cream.

“The school packs include a lesson plan using an interactive PowerPoint presentation being delivered

[caption id="attachment_49415" align="alignleft" width="300"]Finbar Mallon (6) of Cumran Primary School in Clough pictured with Niamh McDade, Cancer Focus cancer prevention officer. Finbar Mallon (6) of Cumran Primary School in Clough pictured with Niamh McDade, Cancer Focus cancer prevention officer.[/caption]

by teachers in the classroom. The children carry out practical experiments and complete the worksheet provided under the supervision of their teachers using UV beads that change colour when exposed to sunlight.

 “Some of the key elements the children are exploring are the purpose of sun cream and how often it should be reapplied, as well as factual information about the sun and UV rays. The school packs include Lidl’s quality yet affordable own brand Cien sun cream, which has been donated by Lidl Northern Ireland to support the programme.

“Skin cancer is a very real issue for us in Northern Ireland with approximately 3,330 skin cancers diagnosed here each year. Since the 1980’s we have seen almost a threefold increase in the incidence of malignant melanoma, the most aggressive form of skin cancer. Research indicates that over-exposure to sunlight in youth is a significant factor contributing to the development of skin cancer later in life.”

Sun Scientist links in with the CEA’s Key Stage 2 Northern Ireland Curriculum – Personal Understanding and Health. It develops a pro-active and responsible approach to safety in the sun, and is an excellent teaching tool for teachers.

Aoife Clarke, from Lidl Northern Ireland, said: “Lidl is delighted to be able to lend support to the Sun Scientist programme. With rates of skin cancers rising, Lidl is committed to spreading the message about safety in the sun.

“Our Cien sun care range is affordable and shows consumers you don’t need to break the bank to stay safe in the sun.”


To minimise risk and stay safe in the sun, Cancer Focus advises:

Cover Up – Wear a hat; broad brims give the best protection.  A ‘legionnaire’ flap on your baseball hat provides excellent protection. Wear loose fitting clothing to protect your shoulders, arms and legs when you are in the sun.

Seek Shade – Especially during the hottest part of the day between 11am and 3pm.  Limit the time you are exposed to the sun.

Use Sunscreen –Use sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 15 for UVB protection and 4 star for UVA protection. Apply 30mins before going out in the sun and reapply frequently.