In recent years, the number of cases of skin cancer has risen dramatically.
The reasons are due to multiple factors:
- Outdoor activities on the increase
- Higher UVR exposure (Solarium)
- Beauty ideals - brown/tanned skin
- Higher UVR exposure due to the depletion of the ozone layer
- Other environmental factors
There are two main types of skin cancer, (i) Malignant Melanoma and (ii) Non-melanoma skin cancer and pre-cancerous lesions - these include:
Some Skin Cancer Facts:
Malignant Melanoma is one of the fastest growing fatal cancers in the UK. The number of new cases diagnosed has increased significantly. Melanoma is the least common but most serious type of skin cancer, with approximately 12,000 new cases diagnosed in the UK each year. It has been estimated that the lifetime risk of developing malignant melanoma is 1 in 61 for men and 1 in 60 for women in the UK. More than a quarter of all cases occurs in people aged less than 50 years.
Between 40 - 50% of people living in the UK will have some kind of skin cancer at least once in their life.
About 90 percent of non-melanoma skin cancers are associated with exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.
Actinic keratosis is the most common pre-cancer. Approximately 65 percent of all squamous cell carcinomas arise in lesions that previously were diagnosed as actinic keratoses. In patients with a history of two or more skin cancers, 36 percent of basal cell carcinomas arise in lesions previously diagnosed as actinic keratoses.
Regular Skin Checks
It is important to take time to examine your skin and ask for your partner’s or friends’ help when examining the back and head. If you discover a suspicious lesion, go promptly to your dermatologist.
Skin cancer is easily preventable through regular skin checks. What we aim to do is to increase melanoma and cancer awareness and highlight the necessity of regular skin checks for cancer, because the earlier a skin cancer is detected, the higher the rate of survival. Skin checks should be like going to your dentist or optician and part of a regular routine as it is in Australia, parts of the USA and some European countries such as Germany, Austria and Switzerland.