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Sorry riskfactorphobes, but I feel a bit of a rant coming on today – and that’s because of a couple of news stories in the press today that have irritated the hell out of me. The first is about sunburn. Okay, I know people like a tan. But at what cost?

The story is about a survey carried out by Cancer Research UK and the high-street pharmacy chain Superdrug. And what it has discovered is that almost half of the people surveyed admit they have been sunburned at least once this summer – with a third saying they’d do it again because they want a tan.

This annoys me no end. I can understand someone getting burned by accident – it happens, no matter how well prepared you are with SPF creams. But to burn for the sake of a few weeks looking a bit browner than you were before – something we all KNOW increases our risk for skin cancer (come on, don’t say you haven’t read the countless articles about it). Well that’s idiotic, if you ask me.

Living in a seaside town, I see it all the time during the summer. The red, raw bodies wandering around the streets after a day on the beach. And why? Because people say they feel better with a tan. I tell you what, you won’t be feeling too good if you’re one of the 10,000+ people in the UK who are diagnosed with malignant melanoma each year. Talk to me when you’re going through a round of chemotherapy, when your hair has fallen out and you haven’t got the energy to sit up and watch TV. Then how good will you look?

If you remember, people used to think smoking made them look cool. I dare say some still think that, but thankfully the majority of people now realise having lung cancer doesn’t do much for your image. How long before the same can be said about sun exposure and skin cancer, I wonder? How many people have to die before the serial sunburners get the message?

It’s not as if there aren’t enough fake tans out there that do the job perfectly well (though myself, I prefer not to go down that route – I have never got the hang of the streak-free fake tan, and there’s that dreadful smell…).

Now the other thing that’s got my goat today also relates to cancer, this time cervical cancer. The NHS in Scotland is apparently sending out thousands of leaflets to women urging them to go for cervical cancer screening because the figures have again dropped off. The number of women going for smear tests soared, if you remember, after Jade Goody died of the disease tragically at the age of 27.

But the memory of poor Jade is fading, it seems. Which is a tragedy in itself.

Look, nobody likes having a smear test. It’s not a particularly pleasant procedure. But compared to dying of cervical cancer it’s a trip to Alton Towers. So come on Scottish ladies (and, I dare say, it’s only a matter of time before figures show the effect is happening elsewhere too). Sort yourselves out.

Enough already.