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Malignant Melanoma Rates Rising

April 23, 2014
Public Health

sunbedsCases of malignant melanoma are now seven times higher than they were in the 1970s, according to a recent study by Cancer Research UK. More than 13,000 people are now diagnosed with the disease each year, compared to approximately 1800 in the mid-1970s.

Malignant melanoma is now the fifth most common cancer in the UK, causing 2,000 deaths each year. The rise in numbers is thought to be partly due to the increase in package holidays over the years and the desire for a ‘healthy tan.’

Nick Ormiston-Smith, head of statistics at Cancer Research UK, told the London Evening Standard: “Holidays in hot climates have become more affordable and sunbeds are more widely available since the 1970s. But we know over-exposure to UV (ultraviolet) rays from the sun or sunbeds is the main cause of skin cancer. This means, in many cases, the disease can be prevented, and is why it’s essential to get into good sun safety habits, whether at home or abroad.”

The positive news for those fall prey to disease is that improvements in treatment now mean 8 out of 10 sufferers survive.

This research comes shortly after officers at North Tyneside Council found radiation levels in excess of safety limits in eight out of ten sunbeds tested during a routine survey of 26 licensed tanning premises in the area. In 2012, EHP’s in Bedfordshire found similar results.