Stay in the shade: skin cancer rates surge since 1970s

Cancer Research UK statistics show more than 13,000 people now develop a malignant melanoma each year in contrast to around 1,800 in the mid 1970’s.

This increase has been attributed to the popularity of package holidays to Europe from the late 1960s, and also the increase in sunbed use.

Malignant melanoma is now the fifth most common cancer, with more than 2,000 dying due to it each year. Around 17 people in every 100,000 are diagnosed with the disease in Great Britain each year, a large jump compared to just three people in every 100,000 in the 1970s.

This increase makes malignant melanoma incidences the highest increase for any of today’s ten most common cancers.

Those identified with the highest risk of the disease are people with pale skin, lots of moles or freckles, history of sunburn or a family history of the disease.

The main cause of skin cancer is overexposure to UV rays from the sun or sunbeds, which means in many cases, risk can be greatly reduced by abiding by good sun safety habits, both at home and abroad.

Experts advise spending time in the shade when the sun is at its peak, covering up and using sun cream that contains at least SPF15.

Experts also advise:

  • Visit a GP regularly to get your moles checked.
  • Take care not to burn.
  • Wear sun cream with at least SPF15 and a good UVA protection.
  • Cover up with clothes and a hat and spend time in the shade (11am – 1pm).
  • Regularly reapply sun cream, especially after going in water, perspiration or being in the shade for a while.

Following these guidelines and sharing these with others will help reduce the risk of sunburn, and therefore skin cancer.

Eight in ten people survive skin cancer, which is among the highest rate for any cancer, thanks to the specialists who help to research and treat skin cancer.

RIG Healthcare is a specialist recruitment agency, sourcing and recruiting the best individuals helping to research and treat cancer.

If you would like to discuss your requirements, please contact our specialist team.


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