Yorkshire has seen a dramatic increase in the number of people diagnosed with skin cancer.
Levels of malignant melanoma have more than doubled since the early 1990s, new figures from Cancer Research UK reveal.
The latest incidence rates show about 950 people are now developing malignant melanoma in Yorkshire every year – up from 360 people two decades ago.
Rates have been increasing dramatically across the UK since the mid 1970s and they are now five times higher across the UK than they were 40 years ago.
Malignant melanoma is now the fifth most common cancer in the UK and more than 2,000 people die from the disease each year.
The rise is partly down to an explosion in package holidays to Europe dating from the late 60s and the increasing popularity of the “must-have” tan often achieved only after damaging sunburn.
The boom in sunbed use has also helped to fuel the increase in skin cancer and better detection methods may also have contributed to the increase in the number of people diagnosed.
Nicki Embleton, Cancer Research UK spokesman for Yorkshire, said: “We know over-exposure 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, and so it is essential to get into good sun safety habits, whether at home or abroad.
“One of the best ways people can reduce their risk of malignant melanoma is to avoid getting sunburn. We know that those with the highest risk of the disease include people with pale skin, lots of moles or freckles, a history of sunburn or a family history of the disease.”
For more sun safety information from Cancer Research UK visit www.sunsmart.org.uk
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