Skin cancer is becoming more common year on year, with rates now more than 4 times higher than the early 70’s.
Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer and, while it can occur in any skin type, is much more common in fair skin-types.
Approximately 13500 people are diagnosed with melanoma in the UK every year, making it the 5th most common cancer in males (7th in females). The incidence rises as we get older but it is also the 2nd commonest cancer under 50yrs.
The biggest risk factor for melanoma is ultraviolet (UV) exposure which includes sunlight and sunbeds.
It is strongly linked with suffering ‘sun-burn’ in the early years.
People with fair skin who live, or have lived, in sunny climates have a higher risk.
Australia has led the way in terms of sun-protection and have been promoting the slogan “Slip, slop, slap!” for many years. This public health program entails slipping on a shirt, slopping on sunscreen and slapping on a hat.
Maybe we should follow suit?
Survival rates from melanoma are much higher if this cancer is diagnosed and treated earlier.
Consider the “ABCDE” of moles:-
- Evolution or enlargement
It is additionally worth considering the ‘ugly duckling’ sign which is based on the fact that moles in the same individual tend to resemble one another, and that melanomas often deviate from this pattern.
If in doubt about any new or existing mole, consult your doctor soon. They will be happy to check it for you and will refer you to a dermatologist if there are any concerning features.
Price for mole check £50