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In the UK there has long been a view that a bit of colour is both healthy and attractive, although new statistics may prove otherwise.
Skin cancers are becoming extremely common. Over 84,500 non-melanoma skin cancers (NMSC) were registered in the UK in 2007 but registration is known to be incomplete. It is estimated that each year at least 100,000 cases of NMSC are diagnosed.
The life time risk of developing malignant melanoma for men has been estimated to be1 in 91and 1 in 77 for women in the UK. (Cancer Research UK)
Over the last thirty years in the UK, the incidence of malignant melanoma has increased more than for any other common cancer. Male rates of skin cancer have increased more than five times from around 2.7 in 1978 to 14.6 in 2007, while the female rates have more than tripled from 4.5 to 15.4 over the same period in Great Britain (Cancer Research UK). A sign that not all is well in the fight against skin cancer.
Such a high rate of skin cancer in the UK may be attributable to a number of things: attitude, environmental changes (Ultra violet levels), idolising celebrities and love of the outdoors.
The SunSafe message seems to be getting through reasonably well in Cornwall and the Isles Of Scilly, but there is still evidence that many UK residents don't use effective sun-protection aids.
Those who work outdoors, such as labourers, life guards, farmers, postal workers etc. are more likely to develop skin cancer, according to the National Occupation Health and Safety Commission. Also, people with fair skin are at a much higher risk of developing a skin cancer as opposed to those with darker skin.
Skin cancer is caused predominantly by rays from the sun. Ultraviolet radiation (UVR) beats down on the skin to alter the DNA of a skin cell.
Doctors suggest that you check your skin at least once a year for any signs of burgeoning sun spots. The things to look out for include a freckle, mole or spot that appears different to those around it. If a spot changes colour, shape, size or moves position over a number of weeks or months then please seek expert medical advice immediately.
The best cure for skin cancer is prevention. And when you think about it, it's really not that hard. Being lazy can be fun, but is it worth the risk?