The most common cancer in the UK is on the rise. Skin cancer cases have risen by almost a third in only a few years. 2007 saw 87, 685 admissions, that number rose to 123, 808 in 2011, according to researchers at Public Health England. Melanoma cases (the most dangerous form of skin cancer) increased by 30% and non-melanoma cases are up 43%. The majority of cases where located on patient’s heads and necks.
Sarah Williams, senior health information officer at Cancer Research UK says it’s “worrying to see rising rates of a disease that could largely be prevented”. There is plenty of information available on skin cancer and the general public are well aware that too much sun exposure is dangerous, so why are cases on the up? Experts, including Jonathon Major from the British Association of Dermatologists, believe the lure of “holidays to sunny locations” and the “desirable fashion” for tanned skin is to blame for the “inevitable increase in skin cancer incidence rates”.
Major feels the rising cases are becoming a “financial burden” on society currently costing the NHS £95 million a year.
With so much information available and the rise in wearable technology there really is no excuse for frequently overexposing your skin to harmful UV. SunFriend is a particularly helpful gadget that optimise the time you spend in the sun. Jonathon Margolis from the financial times said “SunFriend is a rare example of wearable tech that could save you and your children, from skin cancer”. The BBC’s Caroline Hepker agrees; “SunFriend measures sun exposure not just to protect against skin cancer, which is a big worry, but also very helpful for those who are low on vitamin D”.
Summer may be over but the September UV rays can still be strong enough to burn sensitive skin.
Identifying a mole or melanoma
Use the ABCDE check list
- Asymmetrical: melanomas have an irregular shape
- Border: melanomas have ragged edges
- Colours: melanomas contain a mix of colours
- Diameter: melanomas are larger than 6mm (0.25 inches)
- Evolution: any mole that changes characteristics or size is likely to be melanoma
If you have any worries go straight to your GP, the saying is “if in doubt, check it out”. Early detection is the key to curing cancer.