Warning as skin cancer rates soar among young people

The use of sunbeds and lack of care on summer holidays have seen levels of skin cancer soar among young people, with more than two Britons under 35 being diagnosed every day, new research suggests.

Rates of malignant melanoma have tripled among those aged 15 to 34 since the late 1970s, according to analysis by Cancer Research UK.

Then, there were 1.8 cases of melanoma per 100,000 people in this age group, rising to 5.9 now.

It is thought sunbeds are playing a role in boosting cancer rates among young people, as well as failing to use sufficient protection against the sun's strong rays while on holiday abroad.

Launching its annual SunSmart campaign, which promotes the use of suntan lotion and covering up in midday sun, the charity said more than 900 young Britons are newly-diagnosed with the disease each year.

It also warned that older people are at risk, with skin cancer rates rising among all age groups.

In 2007, there were 10,800 new cases among all ages, jumping to 11,700 cases in 2008 - an 8.5% rise.

Sara Hiom, director of health information at Cancer Research UK, said: "While some sunshine is good for us, going red and burning can be dangerous.

"The most important thing people can do to reduce their chances of developing skin cancer is to make sure they don't get red or burn.

"And the best way to do that is to get to know your skin and how long you can safely stay in the sun, and also avoid sunbeds.

"Sunburn means that UV rays have penetrated the skin cells, causing damage which builds up over time and increases the risk of skin cancer.

"The explosion in melanoma rates we are seeing now reflects people's tanning behaviour in the past and the desire to sport a suntan - a trend which began in the 70s with the dawn of cheap package holidays.

"All too often, holidaymakers thought getting sunburnt was part of the process of getting a tan."

Caroline Cerny, Cancer Research UK's SunSmart campaign manager, said: "It's very worrying to see that the number of young adults being diagnosed with this potentially fatal disease has risen so dramatically, especially since cancer is typically a disease that affects older people.

"With summer approaching after such a harsh winter, everyone is looking forward to enjoying some sunshine.

"But it's more important than ever to be aware of the dangers of getting sunburnt.

"Nor are sunbeds a safe alternative to tanning. In fact, using a sunbed before the age of 35 can increase your risk of melanoma by 75%.

"Young women in particular need to take care since they are more than twice as likely to be diagnosed with melanoma than young men.

"The good news is that the majority of cases could be prevented by making sure you don't get sunburnt."

Symptoms of melanoma include moles getting bigger, changing shape or colour (such as becoming darker or patchy), itching or painful moles, and ones that look inflamed, bleed or become crusty.

Nina Goad, of the British Association of Dermatologists, said better early diagnosis may be behind some of today's figures.

"The fact that skin cancer rates are increasing to such an extent in such a young age group shows that the disease is not just a consequence of lack of sun safety knowledge in previous decades," she said.

"It is our current behaviour that needs to be addressed. Four out of five cases of the disease are preventable, which shows why preventing sunburn is so important.

"Likewise, early detection is crucial - it is the one cancer which you can see very clearly on the outside of the body, and which can also be cured if detected early enough and removed promptly.

"Earlier detection and increased awareness of symptoms may have led to some cases being detected in younger age groups, which is why people need to learn both how to spot signs of the disease, and how to prevent it in the first place."

Sport
The giant banner displayed by Legia Warsaw supporters last night
football
News
i100(and it's got nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off)
News
news
Sport
footballPremiership preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's matches
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
News
Angelina Jolie with her father Jon Voight
people
Arts and Entertainment
Tulisa as a judge on the X Factor in 2012
tvLouis Walsh confirms star's return
Life and Style
fashionClothes shop opens on Bill Clinton Boulevard in Pristina
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
News
i100
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Project Manager - Pensions

    £32000 - £38000 Per Annum Bonus, Life Insurance + Other Benefits: Clearwater P...

    Project Coordinator - Cisco Partner - £110 p/d

    £110 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Project Coordinator (SC Cleared), Cisco Go...

    KYC Analyst, Birmingham - £200-£250 p/d

    £200 - £250 per day + competitive: Orgtel: KYC Analyst, Key Banking Client, Bi...

    Test Manager - Banking - Yorkshire - £450 per day

    £400 - £500 per day: Orgtel: Test Manager - Banking - West Yorkshire - £400-£5...

    Day In a Page

    Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

    The phoney war is over

    Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
    Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

    Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

    The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
    Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

    Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

    Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
    From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

    Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

    After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
    Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

    Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

    Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
    Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

    Salomé: A head for seduction

    Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
    From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

    British Library celebrates all things Gothic

    Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
    The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

    Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

    The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
    Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

    In search of Caribbean soul food

    Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
    11 best face powders

    11 best face powders

    Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
    England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

    Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

    Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
    Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

    Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

    They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
    Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

    Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

    Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
    Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

    Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

    The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
    America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

    America’s new apartheid

    Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone