Melanomas and Skin Cancer Rates Surge by a Third

In the past decade, skin cancer rates have surged by nearly a third, with projections suggesting a record high of 20,800 cases this year. The most significant increase has been observed in adults over 80, whose melanoma rates have risen by 57% over the last ten years, according to Cancer Research UK. This spike in cases among older adults is thought to be linked to the popularity of cheap foreign holidays since the 1960s.

Melanomas are the most serious form of skin cancer  diagnosed this year in the UK, continuing an trend in which cases have risen by more than a third over the past decade

Rising Rates Across Age Groups

While all age groups have seen an increase in melanoma rates, the smallest rise—just 7%—has been among those aged 18 to 49. Experts attribute this modest increase to heightened awareness of sun protection, particularly the importance of early detection.

Preventable Cases and Swift Action

The analysis reveals that around 17,000 melanoma cases each year could be prevented, with nearly 90% of these caused by excessive ultraviolet radiation exposure. As summer approaches, Cancer Research UK stresses the need for vigilant sun protection and immediate medical attention for any suspicious skin changes.

Michelle Mitchell, the charity’s chief executive, expressed concern: “It’s alarming to see the rise in melanoma diagnoses. Most of these cases are preventable, highlighting the need for serious sun safety measures. While survival rates are improving due to advancements in research, early detection and swift action are crucial to reducing the risk of severe outcomes.”

Dr Claire Knight, senior health information manager at Cancer Research UK, added: “Just one sunburn every two years can triple the risk of skin cancer. Protecting yourself from the sun, even on cooler or cloudy days, is essential. Use shade, clothing, and sunscreen with at least SPF 30. Reapply sunscreen regularly and do not hesitate to seek medical advice if you notice any skin changes.”

Delay in diagnosis of skin cancer?

As the UK braces for warmer weather, the rising skin cancer rates serve as a stark reminder of the importance of sun safety and the urgency of early detection. Whether at home or abroad, taking steps to protect your skin and seeking prompt medical attention for any unusual skin changes could significantly reduce the risk of melanoma and save lives.

You may do everything right and report changes in the skin to a GP or Hospital and they may not diagnosed the skin cancer in time or at all leaving you in worse outcomes needing further treatment that may not have been required if treated earlier at first presentation.  Should this be the case you may have a claim for compensation for delayed skin cancer diagnosis.  Please contact us for advice and assistance.

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