Melanoma skin cancer cases rising in UK

Cancer Research UK predicts there will be a record 20,800 cases diagnosed this year – up from a yearly average of 19,300 between 2020 and 2022.

Its analysis shows rates rose by almost a third, external between 2009 and 2019 – from 21 to 28 cases per 100,000 people.

The rise in diagnoses is due partly to a growing ageing population and an increase in awareness of the signs of skin cancer.

The report suggests around 17,000 melanoma cases every year are preventable – with almost nine in 10 caused by too much ultraviolet (UV) radiation.

Melanomas are a serious type of skin cancer that can spread to other parts of the body.

There are also non-melanoma skin cancers, which are generally more common and usually less serious than melanoma.

According to Cancer Research (CRUK) the rise in cases has covered all age groups but the biggest increases are in the older age groups – particularly in adults over 80, where diagnoses have risen from 61 to 96 cases per 100,000 people over a decade.

There has also been a rise among adults aged between 25 and 49, according to the charity’s analysis.

For this group the rate has gone up from 14 to 15 per 100,000 people over 10 years.

Young people are more likely to be aware of the link between UV and skin cancer than older generations, scientists suggest, external.

This could mean they’re more likely to take precautions in the sun, compared with older people, who grew up when less was known about the dangers of tanning.

Many people also took advantage of the cheap package-holiday boom, which began in the 1960s, researchers say.