A third of UK adults don’t use sunscreen despite most burning at least once per year, new survey data shows, with farmers particularly vulnerable to skin cancer.
Melanoma Focus has issued a warning following the data, which shows that only 11% say they always use sunscreen in the UK, dropping to just 8% for males.
The national charity warns that melanoma is on the rise in the UK and is the most serious form of skin cancer.
Outdoor workers, such as those in the agricultural sector, are at greater risk of the cancer due to their exposure to the sun's UV rays, which can cause skin damage and sunburn.
Male respondents were particularly reluctant to use sunscreen, according to Melanoma Focus's survey, with 40% saying they rarely or never use it in the UK.
When asked why they don’t use sunscreen the majority (39%) said it’s because they don’t expect to burn.
This is despite 52% of all respondents reporting that they got sunburned at least once per year, rising to 71% for 26-35 year olds.
Melanoma skin cancer is a serious and potentially fatal condition, yet people in the UK are often ignoring the dangers posed by prolonged exposure to the UV rays.
One in 36 men and 1 in 47 women in the UK will be diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer in their lifetime.
It is the deadliest form of skin cancer and is in the top five most commonly diagnosed cancers in the UK, killing 2,333 people per year.
Yet, according to Melanoma Focus, the vast majority - 86% - of melanomas are preventable.
Susanna Daniels, CEO of the charity said: “About seven people die from melanoma every day in the UK and more people die from melanoma in the UK than in Australia.
"The fact that people are continuing to ignore the warnings and not take the necessary precautions to protect themselves from skin cancer is concerning.
“About 9 in 10 melanoma skin cancer cases are preventable and it is vital that people take the warnings about the dangers of excessive sun exposure and the dangers of sunbed use seriously."