In the good old days (?) Before the industrial revolution the economy of this country was largely based on agriculture, and so most of the working class employees spent long hours outside in the fields. Inevitably their skin would have been well bronzed, and in time it became a distinguishing mark of the lower classes.
To ensure that no one could possibly mistake them for working class, the fashion of the time for the upper classes, especially amongst the ladies, was for alabaster skin. This effect was accentuated by the application of white powder, which was very often lead based. The result was deadly.
This fashion would continue to a greater or lesser degree into the 19th Century. Then in the 20th century, the advent of at least 2 major wars and the inevitable loss of manpower had a large number of women taking to manual labour. This was honourable work, and it is likely that this was the time when a tan became more acceptable.
The connection between a tan and the outdoor life resulted in the former being regarded as a sign of good health, and this delusion continues (especially amongst the young) to this day. This is very unfortunate, because it is now understood that excessive exposure to tanning rays, whether sunshine or artificial, can be the first step on the road to skin cancer.
The problem has been exacerbated by the increase in the number of people taking holidays in hotter climates than they are used to. Whilst it should never be assumed that exposure to the sun is too limited in this country to have a serious effect, the problem increases vastly in areas where the sun is much nearer to overhead. Combine this with longer hours of sunshine and the danger becomes obvious.
The emphasis now is, as it should be, on prevention. Clothing cover and sun creams are recommended, especially for children, with reduced mid-day exposure a must. In case these precautions prove to be inadequate, good critical illness cover could prove to be a blessing.
However, it pays to read the small print. It is fairly certain that any policy will have some very clear definitions, and treatable conditions are not now regarded as critical illness. This would appear to be reasonable. Skin cancer can be deadly; 1800 deaths a year and rising are proof of this, with experts predicting that this figure will double within 10 years.
No one would expect fire insurance to cover them for just a piece of paper going up in flames, so why should they expect that critical illness cover should provide treatment for non-critical ie curable illness. A skin cancer melanoma found early enough can be dealt with and there is a good chance of success
So in the early stages it is up to you to protect yourself with high factor sunscreen, restricted exposure and clothing cover. Early checks of any moles of doubtful origin are important and can be obtained fairly easily. For a start 'Superdrug' who have a pharmacy on most high streets are opening 'mole clinics' for just such a purpose, and it is likely that other appropriate retail outlets will follow suit.
If you are one of the careless or unlucky ones and you have skin cancer which has advanced beyond the early stages without being discovered, then if you have Critical Illness Insurance you will at least have shed some worries. You will have enough to think about without also having to concern yourself with, for example, financial problems.
So you need to check the small print and make sure that you are absolutely clear as to what you are covered for – skin cancer (even if critical) could be on the 'not covered' list. You also need to be certain that you have provided the insurance company with a note detailing any conditions existing before the policy commences; this needs to cover every item which could have even the remotest connection with any insured condition. They are providing your cover and you can not expect them to do this without the fullest possible information.
Finally, make sure you keep up the payments. Failure to pay must be the surest way to terminate the agreement, and could provide a nasty shock at the worst possible time.