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Skin Cancer: Health Education

Question for Department for Education

UIN 39895, tabled on 19 July 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to increase awareness of (a) melanoma and (b) other skin cancers in schools.

Answered on

27 July 2022

It is important to educate people about the causes and symptoms of cancer and the department is supportive of efforts to do this at an early age.

The statutory guidance on relationships education, relationships and sex education (RSE) and health education includes content on cancer awareness which should be taught in a sensitive and age-appropriate manner. The guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/relationships-education-relationships-and-sex-education-rse-and-health-education. At primary school, the guidance covers safe and unsafe exposure to the sun, and how to reduce the risk of sun damage, including skin cancer. At secondary school, the guidance covers knowing the benefits of regular skin self-examination and screening for melanoma and other skin cancers.

To support schools, the department published a suite of teacher training modules and non-statutory guidance, including a module on health and prevention, which has a section on sun safety, self-examination and screening, which is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/teacher-training-health-and-prevention.

Schools may also teach about cancer awareness in other areas of the national curriculum. For example, the secondary science curriculum ensures pupils are taught about non-communicable diseases, such as cancer, and the impact of lifestyle factors on the incidence of these diseases.