Skin cancer rates soar in Britain

As temperatures soar, so does our risk of skin cancer with rates of malignant melanoma tripling among those aged 15 to 34 since the 1970s

As summer is on its way we all want to show off a bronzed complexion, but the increasing use of sunbeds and lack of sun protection has seen skin cancer soar among young people.

Cancer Research UK suggests more than two Britons under the age of 35 are diagnosed with malignant melanoma every day, with more than 900 young Britons newly diagnosed with the disease each year.

‘While some sunshine is good for us, going red and burning can be dangerous,’ says Sara Hiom from Cancer Research UK. ‘The most important thing people can do to reduce their chances of developing skin cancer is to get to know your skin and how long you can safely stay in the sun.’

Symptoms of melanoma include changes in the shape and colour of moles, inflamed or bleeding. Young women need to be particularly aware of the symptoms, as they are twice as likely to be diagnosed with skin cancer than young men.

Nina Goad of the British Association of Dermatologists suggests better early diagnosis may be behind some of today’s figures, but says: ‘It is our current behaviour that needs to be addressed.’

‘Four out of five cases of the disease are preventable, which shows why preventing sunburn is so important,’ she continues. ‘Likewise, early detection is crucial as it is the only cancer which you can see very clearly on the outside of the body, and which can be cured if detected early enough and removed promptly.’

‘The biggest problem is that far too often holiday makers believe that getting burnt is all just part of the tanning process. As summer approaches, people must remember to take care of their skin and tan gradually using protection.’

Experts recommend regular screening for early signs of melanoma. Get sun-savvy and book in for a personal skin cancer screening – find your nearest clinic at www.themoleclinic.co.uk

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