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Thursday 20th October 2016

Skin cancer rising in 15-34s

17th June 2009

The charity Cancer Research UK has released figures showing that skin cancer is now the most common cancer among 15 to 34-year-olds.


While 10,000 people a year get the most dangerous form of skin cancer – malignant melanoma – cases affecting younger people have doubled in the last two decades.

The charity is concerned that cases are rising as people allow their skin to burn to get a golden tan and it is worried about a trend of ‘competitive tanning’ among young people.

Dr Jodie Moffatt from Cancer Research UK said: “Getting painful sunburn just once every two years can triple your chances of getting skin cancer.

“We know melanoma is caused by overexposure to UV, so it's likely to be due to tanning, and young skin is particularly vulnerable.

“Damage that you do now might increase your chances of getting cancer in 20 or so years time.”

People with fair or pale skin, or freckles, are more at risk but those with darker skin are also at risk.

A survey of people aged 16 to 24 revealed that half do not protect themselves against the sun and a third competed against friends to get a better tan.

The charity is launching a Skindividual campaign to raise awareness about the importance of being careful in the sun.

It recommends using at least factor 15 sunscreen with a star rating of four or five and also warns that sunbeds can differ in intensity with some up to 15 times stronger than the midday sun.


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