AT A GLANCE: Seasonal push begins to fight skin cancer

So PR for suncare products is hotting up, eh?
Very good. As we move into June, it makes seasonal sense for companies and organisations to step up comms on skin cancer awareness and suncare brands.

Who’s been doing what?
The Ri-SK campaign has launched a website. It raises awareness of the importance of early diagnosis of solar keratosis, also called actinic keratosis, which can develop into a form of skin cancer called squamous cell carcinoma.

Has there been much coverage?
It was given a timely plug in the Sunday Telegraph last weekend. HSD Communications handles PR for the campaign and Shire Pharmaceuticals sponsors the site with an educational grant. The pharma company manufactures Solaraze, a treatment for actinic keratosis.

Anything else?
The British Skin Foundation (BSF) held its own Walk for Skin, supported by Graham Norton, last month and has just launched a skin cancer appeal to raise money for research.

What are its key messages?
The main one is that it’s ‘better to fake it’ – that is, to get a fake tan instead of indulging in too much sun worship. Hollyoaks cast members were used at the launch in London, while two people in ‘naked’ suits handed out sun awareness information in London and Manchester. Sky News ran footage on its daytime bulletins.

Isn’t Superdrug also doing something?
That’s right, it has just launched the SAFE (Skin Awareness For Everyone) 2007 campaign with the Institute of Cancer Research. Superdrug also plans to launch mole clinics in high street stores over the next few months, allowing customers to check themselves for potential skin problems. It has also set up an online petition as part of lobbying efforts to persuade the government to reduce VAT on children’s suncare products. ZPR is looking after comms for the retailer’s part of the SAFE campaign.

But haven’t we had rather a lack of sun recently?
Medical advice is that sun protection should be applied regularly, even on cloudy summer days if you are outside. Nearly 8,000 cases of malignant melanoma are diagnosed in the UK each year.

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