According to a leading cancer charity, the boom of package holidays in the sun that started in the 1960s has led to a massive rise in people over 65 developing skin cancer.
New research conducted by Cancer Research UK shows that people in the UK over 65 are around seven times more likely to suffer from malignant melanoma compared to 40 years ago. The research also, quite worryingly, shows that some 5,700 pensioners are diagnosed with melanoma every year today. Compare this to just 600 in the mid-1970s and you can see how much of a problem it has become.
Whilst one of the biggest factors for melanoma is often age, it’s another previous lifestyle choice that dominates the bulk of the findings. The cheap package holiday boom and the determination to get a nice suntan has now been cited as a possible reason for the rise in melanomas.
The problem is that this trend hasn’t dwindled and today’s generations are just as keen to achieve a tan, even if it means putting their health at risk.
In the UK, skin cancer is the fifth most common cancer overall and the second most common in people aged between 15 and 34. Getting sunburnt just once every two years can raise your risk of developing a malignant melanoma by three times. In fact, even a reddening of the skin is seen as a sign of damage.
When you consider that some 1,300 individuals are diagnosed with skin cancer in the East of England alone each year the problem soon becomes apparent. Add to this the fact that 210 people every year die from the disease and you can see why people living in Cambridgeshire are being advised to take care when enjoying the sun.
Professor Richard Marais, Cancer Research UK’s skin cancer expert, said: “It’s worrying to see melanoma rates increasing at such a fast pace, and across all age groups. It is very important for people to take care of their skin in the sun. It is also important for them to keep an eye on their skin and seek medical opinion if they see any changes to their moles, or even to normal areas of skin. Melanoma is often detected on men’s backs and women’s legs but can appear on any part of the body.”
In an attempt to combat the growing skin cancer problem in the region, Cancer Research UK and Nivea Sun have teamed up to encourage people to enjoy the sun safely this coming summer.
One of Cancer Research UK’s senior science information managers, Nell Barrie, said: “This is an excellent piece of research that adds rich detail to our understanding of how melanoma cells develop resistance to drugs – and how we can tackle this head on. The researchers have worked through the issue with meticulous care to show not just how this happens, but how we can tackle the problem”.
Having Private Medical Insurance can help accelerate you getting any tests and/or treatment you may require if you ever have any worries about how the sun may have affected your health.
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