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Cancer Research warns melanoma cases are rising in the UK

The leading UK charity has issued advice about how people can better protect themselves from the sun as melanoma cases continue to increase.

Cancer Research UK has completed new analysis, which was published yesterday – Monday 27th May 2024 – that shows melanoma cases increased by almost a third between 2009 and 2019 – from 21 to 28 cases per 100,000 people.

sun setting over the mountains

Against this backdrop, the charity predicts there will be a record 20,800 cases diagnosed this year – up from a yearly average of 19,300 between 2020 and 2022.

According to NHS England, melanoma is a type of skin cancer that can be caused by ultraviolet light, which comes from the sun and sunbeds. Things that increase your likelihood of developing the disease include your age and having pale skin, a large number of moles and a family history of skin cancer.

The report from Cancer Research suggests around 17,000 melanoma cases every year are preventable, however, this depends on whether the cancer has spread to other areas of your body.

Within the research, the charity found the rise in cases has covered all age groups but the biggest increases are in older groups – particularly adults over 80, where diagnoses have risen from 61 to 96 cases per 100,000 people over a decade.

In addition, there has also been a rise among adults aged between 25 and 49, from 14 to 15 cases per 100,000 people over 10 years.

Following the research, Cancer Research UK have issued guidance about how you can best protect yourself against the disease.

This includes:

  • Use sun cream that is at least factor 30 or over
  • Take extra care with children
  • Spend time in the shade between 11am and 3pm
  • Avoid burning if possible
  • Cover up with suitable clothing, which includes wearing sun hats, long sleeved tops and sunglasses

Almost nine in 10 adults diagnosed with melanoma in England will survive, but this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t practice sun safety measures.

Image: Andrea Caramello

More on this topic:

NHS HPV programme is preventing highest number of cervical cancer cases

Impact of smoking on anxiety, depression and cancer

Emily Whitehouse
Writer and journalist for Newstart Magazine, Social Care Today and Air Quality News.

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