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04th Aug 2023

Irish mum calls for more affordable sun cream following severe skin cancer battle

The Irish Cancer Society is calling for suncream to be made more affordable in Ireland following one skin cancer survivor’s difficult treatment.

Research from the Irish Cancer Society shows seven in 10 people believe suncream is too expensive and one in 10 claim they don’t wear it as they can’t afford it.

Mum of six Deirdre Bonass is currently recovering from treatment for basal cell carcinoma skin cancer and has spoken about the need for affordable suncream.

Deirdre’s treatment was in the form of chemotherapy cream as she was left suffering from blisters and spots on her face and a burning sensation she compared to “rubbing a hot iron over your face”.

“The doctor gave me a leaflet showing the stages of the treatment and the impact it will have on my skin – I showed this to family and friends so that they would also be prepared, but nothing could really prepare us for how bad it would get,” Deirdre said.

“I am so thankful that there was a treatment available to me and that the effects on my skin were temporary. My skin is now almost back to normal and although the treatment was severe, it was a lifeline to me.”

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in Ireland with 13,000 people diagnosed each year, and the National Cancer Registry of Ireland expects this number to double by 2040.

Deirdre is calling on Irish people to protect their skin as she believes not enough take the precautions needed to prevent skin cancer.

“I was diagnosed with skin cancer because of my exposure to the sun,” she said.

“Skin cancer can be prevented and my message is that treatment is not easy.

“That’s why I want to tell my story, not to scare people, but to show people the reality of living with skin cancer, the treatment and recovery process, and to encourage people to get ahead of cancer and take every precaution in the sun this summer.”

Deirdre also added that the cost of suncream in Ireland can be a barrier for a lot of families in protecting themselves against skin cancer and has called for more affordable products.

“Suncream can be expensive, particularly if you are trying to keep the kids safe in the sun.

“I know I have used suncream sparingly in the past because you’re trying to stretch out how long a bottle lasts. If we want people to protect their skin, we have to make it more affordable.”

The Irish Cancer Society recommends wearing suncream between April and September with 35ml needed to cover an average adults body which should be reapplied every two hours.

The HSE and the Irish Cancer Society say the following steps are the best way to protect our skin:

  •  Seek shade, especially if outdoors between 11am and 3pm
  •  Slip on clothes that covers your skin
  •  Slap on a wide-brimmed hat
  •  Slop on sunscreen, using factor 30+ for adults and 50+ for children
  •  Slide on sunglasses to protect your eyes