Suffolk: Deadly skin cancer cases see sharp rise
- Credit: Archant
Cases of skin cancer in the region are rising sharply – but far more people are surviving the deadly disease than ever before.
New statistics released today show there are 1,300 people every year diagnosed with malignant melanomas – the most dangerous form of skin cancer – in the East of England.
Forty years ago, barely one-third would have lived, but today the figure for survival has dramatically risen to more than 80%.
With the country enjoying a heatwave, experts say people need to continue to be aware of the causes of the disease and to take action to prevent problems being stored up for the future.
Jane Redman, of Cancer Research UK, said: “Our research is revealing more about skin cancer: what causes it, how we can better prevent it and how we can develop targeted treatments to help more people beat the disease.
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“Skin cancer is one of the fastest rising cancers in the UK, which is likely to be down to our sunbathing habits and the introduction of cheap package holidays in previous decades.
“But the earlier cancer is detected, the easier it is to treat it and the more likely the treatment is to be successful.
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“That’s why it’s important to get to know your skin and if you notice anything unusual, such as a change to a mole or a blemish that still hasn’t healed after a few weeks, then get it checked out by your GP.
“By funding more research we can bring forward the day when even more people survive.”
The charity says the survival rate for malignant melanoma has reached 80% in men and 90% women, compared with 38% in men and 58% in women 40 years ago.
Nearly 13,000 cases of malignant melanoma are diagnosed each year in the UK, with around 2,200 deaths. Around 100,000 people are diagnosed with non-melanoma skin cancer, though more than 500 of these still die.
Professor Richard Marais, director of the Cancer Research UK Paterson Institute for Cancer Research at the University of Manchester, said: “Forty years ago, only around half of those diagnosed with skin cancer were surviving, so eight out of 10 is a massive improvement.
“More and more people are beating skin cancer but we can’t stop there and we need to develop better treatments for the two out of 10 where things don’t look so good.”