Charity raises concern over skin cancer research

A combination of poor sunbathing habits and a stubborn unwillingness to recognise the dangers of over-exposure are leading to a sharp rise in levels of malignant melanoma, the charity Macmillan Cancer Support has warned.

Both men and women are reporting an increase in levels of malignant melanoma, with more than one-third (38%) of men who have skin cancer getting it on the trunk of their bodies, especially the back, and 42% of women discovering it on their legs.

During the past 30 years, the rate of malignant melanomas in Britain has risen faster than any of the top 10 cancers in males and females, the charity has estimated, with more than 11,700 people in the UK diagnosed with malignant melanoma each year.

It follows research in April by charity Cancer Research UK estimating that more than two people in Britain aged under 35 were being diagnosed with malignant melanoma every day. This was announced alongside the introduction of new laws coming into force in the same month in England and Wales banning the use of sunbeds by those aged under 18.

The first week of May was a Sun Awareness Week and Macmillan Cancer Support has a section on its website dedicated to the issue.

This month will also see the launch of new “skin check” guidelines developed by the British Association of Dermatologists and Melanoma Taskforce, a panel of skin cancer experts and charities brought together by MP Siân James.

The skin check guidelines will be available to download from the British Association of Dermatologists’ website.

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