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Policy Information

Cancer Policy

Published: 25 July 2019
From: Department of Health


The National Cancer Strategy 2017 – 2026 focuses on prevention, early diagnosis, treatment and quality of life.

The strategy sets out four goals that will be crucial to achieving this vision:

  • reducing cancer rates and focusing on inequalities
  • providing the best cancer care possible
  • maximising patient involvement and quality of life
  • improving organisations and systems

Read more about cancer services.

Implementing the National Cancer Strategy

An annual report is published which sets out the progress achieved on the implementation of the 52 recommendations of the National Cancer Strategy and the degree to which the key performance indicators are being met.

Read the latest report.

Cancer Patient Advisory Committee

The patient voice is an important part of the National Cancer Strategy. The Cancer Patient Advisory Committee provides ongoing input into the development of services for cancer patients.


A sunbed is any tanning unit used to tan the skin with ultraviolet (UV) radiation. The amount of UV radiation you get from a sunbed can be as much as 15 times higher than what you would get from the midday Mediterranean sun.

Contrary to what some people might think, using a sunbed is not a safer way of getting a tan. It exposes your skin to UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays penetrate deep into the skin and can cause long-term skin damage, ageing and wrinkles. UVB rays cause sunburn and also speed up skin ageing.

There is a growing body of evidence that the use of sunbeds is associated with an increased risk of skin cancer and other health problems. Therefore, it is advised that sunbed use should be limited and in the case of children, prohibited.

A carcinogen is a substance capable of causing cancer in living tissue. The World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer has reclassified sunbed use from a group 2A carcinogen (probably carcinogenic to humans) to a group 1 carcinogen (carcinogenic to humans).

The Public Health Sunbeds Act 2014 addresses the need to protect the public from the risk of skin damage and the increased risk of developing skin cancer. It also aims to promote a greater public awareness across all age groups of the dangers of developing skin cancer, premature ageing and eye damage from exposure to UV radiation.

Further information for the public and industry, including FAQs and guidance on meeting sunbed requirements, is available.

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