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Thursday 27th October 2016

NI skin cancer trebles

24th September 2008

Researchers have found that cases of skin cancer in Northern Ireland have risen significantly over the past two decades.


Cases of malignant melanoma, which causes three quarters of skin cancer deaths, had trebled since the mid-1980s.

Figures from the NI Cancer Registry at Queen’s University Belfast found in 2006 there were 254 cases, compared to 80 in 1984.

Exposure to sun and sunbeds has been blamed.

It was found to be more common in women, among the more affluent and there was a significant rise in cases among younger people in 2006, with a third aged under 50 at the time of diagnosis and nine cases in people under 25.

But the Care of Patients with Malignant Melanoma of Skin in Northern Ireland 2006 report also found that people in Northern Ireland had some of the best survival rates for the cancer in Europe with 98.8% of patients alive one year after being diagnosed.

Northern Ireland Cancer Registry director Dr Anna Gavin said: "The figures are alarming and reflect increased exposure of skin to damaging UV rays from the sun and sunbeds."

Experts have called on medical professions to be alert to the early warning signs of skin cancer.

Dr Maureen Walsh, who is a melanoma specialist, said: "These include the size of a mole or spot increasing to greater than the blunt end of a pencil, or a spot which bleeds if it is itchy."

She has advised people that if they are worried about such moles or spots they should contact their GP.


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