THERE has been a dramatic increase in the number of people diagnosed with skin cancer in the East Midlands, new figures from Cancer Research UK show.
Over the last 20 years the rates of people diagnosed with malignant melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, has more than doubled in the region.
This equates to around 860 people now developing malignant melanoma in the East Midlands every year. This marks a significant change since the early 1990’s when around 270 people were diagnosed annually.
The latest incidence rates show that around 16 people in every 100,000 are diagnosed with malignant melanoma in the East Midlands annually. This is compared to just six per 100,000 in the early 90s.
Nicki Embleton, Cancer Research UK spokesman for the East Midlands, said: “We know overexposure to UV rays from the sun or sunbeds is the main cause of skin cancer. This means, in many cases, the disease can be prevented, so it’s essential to get into good sun safety habits, whether at home or abroad.
“By following some simple tips and taking care not to burn – people can enjoy the sun much more safely this summer.
“One of the best ways people can reduce their risk of malignant melanoma is to avoid getting sunburn. We know that those with the highest risk of the disease include people with pale skin, lots of moles or freckles, a history of sunburn or a family history of the disease.
“Sadly more and more people in the East Midlands are being diagnosed with malignant melanoma each year. But the good news is that survival is amongst the highest for any cancer. More than eight in 10 people will now survive the disease.”
Malignant melanoma is now the fifth most common cancer in the UK and more than 2,000 people die from it each year.
Rates have been increasing dramatically across the UK since the mid 1970s and they are now five times higher than they were 40 years ago.
The rise is partly down to an explosion in package holidays to Europe.