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

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.

7 comments

  • There is also the other side of this story! Our son, who incidentally doesn't use sun beds, go on hot holidays etc. had a mole removed from his leg in 2009 at our local hospital which was reported as clear. After being ill on and off for a while he in September 2013 he was given a 'delayed diagnosis' from 2009 of malignant melanoma which has now metastasised in his lymph nodes in his groin. These have now been removed but unfortunately there is no treatments available to him to stop the spread leaving him terminally ill!

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    Gillyb

    Monday, April 21, 2014

  • Are we surprised with all the chemical lotions and potions people pour on their skins on a daily basis? The chemical cocktails are never tested. Our skin is fighting a chemical battle daily, and then you have the UV interacting with the chemicals... Common sense tells you not to put anything unnatural on your body... Common sense- now there's a concept from the past...

    Report this comment

    Surrey Canary

    Monday, April 21, 2014

  • It's doubled in E Anglia in 20 years but nationally 5 times higher in 40 years. It could also be that more people are visiting their GPs and having their moles and blemishes examined so more people are being diagnosed.

    Report this comment

    samphirelover

    Monday, April 21, 2014

  • The puzzle here is why the rest of the country has increased five fold and East Anglia has only doubled. That demands research because this is a holiday destination and a retirement area and so should be higher than the rest of the country not dramatically lower. Very odd.

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    alecto

    Monday, April 21, 2014

  • I think this increase is down to the fact that in the 50s and 60s sun cream was not available. We all played out as children completely unprotected and our parents would just apply Calomine lotion to the burnt parts but by then it was too late. I remember crying in bed as I was so badly sunburned and so did many of my friends. I have developed skin cancer as an adult despite always using sun cream as an adult, so I am confident my skin cancer was caused when I was a child.

    Report this comment

    samphirelover

    Monday, April 21, 2014

  • Well now, this really is all about package holidays or it is about detection and recording. Because common sense would tell us that with all the people we had in the past in East Anglia who worked outside in all weathers for all of the year-men and women-that the region would have been likely to have a high rate of skin cancer for hundreds of years. We might have covered up in the past but arms and necks were often bare to the sun. Could this rise be another NHS statistic for Norfolk skewed not by our lifestyles but by the massive increase in the number of retirees from other counties who spend the end of their lives here?

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Monday, April 21, 2014

  • Yet the radio says that cases have increased five fold nationwide. Why is East Anglia doing so well?

    Report this comment

    alecto

    Monday, April 21, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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