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Skin cancer cases more than double in Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire

PUBLISHED: 09:09 21 April 2014 | UPDATED: 09:09 21 April 2014

Hospitals are seeing a rise in skin cancer cases

Hospitals are seeing a rise in skin cancer cases

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2009

Skin cancer cases in the east of England have more than doubled over the last 20 years, new figures out today show.

Cancer Research UK says about 18 people in every 100,000 are diagnosed with malignant melanoma every year - equating to 1,300 patients being given the grim news.

In the early 1990s eight people in every 100,000, were diagnosed annually in the region.

The figures comes nearly a month after specialists at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital said skin cancer in East Anglia was “epidemic” and set to get worse as numbers will hit their peak in 2040.

Cancer Research UK puts the doubling of diagnosis of malignant melanoma down to the start of package holidays to Europe in the 1960s, the need for “must have” tans, a boom in sunbed use and better detection of skin cancer.

Helen Johnstone, Cancer Research UK spokesman, said: “Sadly more and more people in the east of England are being diagnosed with malignant melanoma each year.

“But the good news is that survival is among the highest for any cancer. More than eight in 10 people will survive the disease.

“We know overexposure to UV rays from the sun or sunbeds is the main cause of skin cancer.

“This means, in many cases, the disease can be prevented, so it is essential to get into good sun safety habits.”

Malignant melanoma is the fifth most common cancer in the UK and more than 2,000 people die from it each year. Nationally cases are five times higher than 40 years ago.

Tips on how to protect skin this summer

■Spend time in the shade if your shadow is shorter than you.

If your shadow is shorter than you are, then the sun is strong. During the UK summer, the sun is at its strongest between 11am and 3pm.

■Wear a hat, t-shirt and sunglasses when the sun is strong. Wide brimmed hats or foreign legion style caps are best.

■It is recommended people use at least factor 15 sunscreen with a high star rating when the sun is strong. Apply sunscreen generously and reapply regularly to make sure you get the level of protection on the bottle.

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