Melanoma skin cancer cases in the UK have reached an all-time high. Our latest analysis shows there are 17,500 cases being diagnosed per year and projections reveal that these high numbers could continue to increase by around 50% over the next 20 years.
What’s causing these increases?
Temperatures are still set to rise this summer and the UK public is keen to make the most of the good weather. But this comes with risks. It’s well proven that too much sun exposure is linked to skin cancer. And it’s believed that this is partially causing the rapid rise of cases.
Almost 9 out of 10 skin cancer cases in the UK are caused by overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun and sunbeds. It damages the DNA in our skin cells and this damage can build up over time and lead to skin cancer.
Sunbathing has been popular since the 1970s, before people became more aware of the links to skin cancer, and now we’re seeing the consequences of the tanning trend. In people aged 55 and older the probability of getting skin cancer has almost tripled since the 1990s.
But the sun may not be the only factor leading to these high numbers. Older age is one of the main risk factors for cancer, and as the UK’s population grows, we’re also living longer.
More people are also noticing their skin changes and getting them checked by their GP.
But there is some good news too. Despite the record increase, death rates from skin cancer have started to decline. Now more people than ever are surviving skin cancer thanks to the incredible research and improvements in early diagnosis and treatments.