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Friday 28th October 2016

Skin cancer soars

10th June 2008

Wealthy parents who take their families on trips abroad, where they experience strong sunlight, are part of the reason why numbers of skin cancer cases are "soaring" in young people.


Malignant melanoma is the most deadly form of the cancer and is responsible for nearly 2,000 deaths every year.

Cases of melanoma have increased by over 40% over the last ten years - the quickest increase for any cancer.

Doctors have warned that cases of the disease are increasing most rapidly in teenagers and people in their twenties.

Melanoma can be triggered by "severe sunburn" experienced as a child, and children who are taken on holidays in places where there is strong sunlight are often be exposed to the risk of burning.

Professor Jillian Birch, an expert on teenage cancer from Manchester University, gave a speech at an international conference in London.

She warned that cases of melanoma were going up by 4% a year among 20- to 29-year-olds.

"We know melanoma is caused by intermittent exposure to intense sunlight and that exposure in childhood increases the risks of developing the disease up to 40 years later," she said.

"The incidence of the disease rises with age but there is some evidence that in the over-30s it is plateauing. However, in the 15 to 29 age group it is increasing at a faster rate."

The most recent data revealed there were 713 cases of melanoma in young people aged 15 to 24 between 1999-2003 in England.

There were nearly double the amount of melanoma cases in the most wealthy group in comparison to the poorest one.

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