The cost of sunscreen could be linked to the rise in the number of people being diagnosed with skin cancer, research by charities has shown.

Melanoma Focus discovered in a survey of 2,000 adults that 50% of people think sunscreen is too expensive, while 67% said they would use it if it wasn’t as expensive.

It also revealed 10% of people don’t use the protective SPF cream due to the price.

The charity, which offers expert advice and support for patients, carers and healthcare professionals, is now calling on the government to scrap the VAT on the products to lower the cost so it is more accessible for everyone.

Around 4,000 cases of melanoma skin cancer each year in England are linked with deprivation, according to Cancer Research.

Speaking to PA news agency, Susanna Daniels, CEO of Melanoma Focus, said: “Melanoma is the fifth most common cancer in the UK and the deadliest form of skin cancer.

“Wearing a high SPF sunscreen is a hugely important safety measure for protecting against it.

“We know that people are experiencing increasing pressures on their finances at the moment but, with skin cancer rates on the rise, the use of sunscreen should be a high priority.”

Daniels explained that removing VAT on sunscreen products would be “a cost-effective way to cut the overall incidence of skin cancer and could help save lives.”

What is melanoma?

According to the NHS website, melanoma is a type of skin cancer that can spread to other areas of the body.

The main cause of this particular type of skin cancer is ultraviolet light, which comes from the sun and is used in sunbeds.

The NHS also says a number of things can increase your chances of getting melanoma, including your age and having pale skin, a large number of moles and a family history of skin cancer.

May is Melanoma Awareness Month

May is Melanoma Awareness Month and Melanoma Focus is wanting to raise awareness about the early signs of skin cancer.

Daniels commented: “We’d also urge people to make themselves aware of melanoma symptoms and seek medical help if they notice anything suspicious, particularly any changes to a mole or lesion.

“Early detection leads to a higher cure rate and more treatment options.”

According to The Guardian, an HM Treasury spokesperson said: “We recognise the impact that rising prices are having at home which is why we are providing significant support worth on average £3,300 per household. This includes holding down energy bills, uplifting benefits and delivering direct cash payments.

“High-factor sunscreen is on the NHS prescription list for certain conditions and is already provided VAT-free when dispensed by a pharmacist to these patients.”