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Skin cancer diagnoses are going through the roof

 July 8, 2023

Skin cancer cases have hit a record high with some blaming those vacationing in the sun as the source of the surge in numbers.

The new statistics from Cancer Research UK noted all age groups at a record high, with 17,500 cases in the United Kingdom last year.

The Details

"Their latest projections suggest cases could increase by nearly 50 percent over the next 20 years, hitting a record 26,500 diagnoses a year by 2040," the Daily Mail reported.

"The charity pointed to a particular rise in cases among adults aged 55 and over, who would have been born from the year 1968 onwards," it continued.

"Case rates among this age group have nearly tripled since the 1990s," it added.

A Preventable Condition

Cancer Research UK’s chief executive Michelle Mitchell said: “Our new analysis paints a mixed picture for cancer patients and the staff who care for them – while it’s promising that more people are seeking treatment for skin cancer earlier and survival is improving, it’s alarming that cases of the disease could soar over the coming years.

“Melanoma is the UK’s fifth most common cancer, and we know that 86% of these skin cancers could be prevented," she added.

How to Stop It

Dr Julie Sharp, Cancer Research UK’s head of health and patient information, told the Guardian: “Whether you are holidaying abroad or enjoying the good weather closer to home, it’s important to take steps to reduce your risk of skin cancer, especially if you burn easily.

“And remember sunburn doesn’t just happen on the hottest days, you can still get burnt when it’s cloudy.

“The best way to protect your skin when the sun is strong is to spend time in the shade, especially between 11am and 3pm in the UK, and to cover up with a T-shirt, hat and sunglasses. Wearing sunscreen will also help you stay safe in the sun. Make sure you put plenty on and reapply it regularly.”

A preventable situation

Despite the record level of cases, there is hope in the number of people receiving treatment and the decreased number of deaths due to skin cancer.

The situation is also one that certain habits can help prevent, with a focus on covering skin, using sunscreen and avoiding direct sun during peak times all recommended.

With many skin cancers impacting the facial area, the use of sunglasses and head coverings are also ways to help protect against sun damage.

The future may not stop skin cancer but individuals can do much to help stop it from happening through good habits based on research.