Skin Cancer On The Rise

Posted on: 22 April 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves

Protect yourself with our simple mole check guide.

Skin cancer rates double every ten to fifteen years, yet it is often one of the types of cancer people are most complacent about. 

But perhaps that is why melanoma incidence rates have quadrupled since the 1970s, with around 9,000 cases diagnosed each year in the UK.  The message is clear - be vigilent about checking moles for any changes, always wear sun cream and cover up with a hat. 

There are two main types of cancer: non-melanoma skin cancer, which is very common, and melanoma which is less common but more harmful.  If you are worried, check our easy guide to identifying moles which may be unhealthy.

The Easy Guide To Mole Checks

Consult your GP if:

Asymmetry - the two halves of the area may differ in shape.

Border - the edges of the area may be irregular or blurred, and sometimes show notches (see image).

Colour - this may be uneven. Different shades of black, brown and pink may be seen.

Diameter - most melanomas are at least 6mm in diameter. Report any change in size, shape or diameter to your doctor.

Expert - if in doubt, make sure you see a Consultant Dermatologist.

Like most cancers, skin cancer is more common as we age, but surprisingly melanoma is disproportionately higher in younger people and is the most common form of cancer in young adults, aged 15 – 34. 

As part of this year’s Sun Awareness Week, from 5-11 May, the British Association of Dermatologists (BAD) has revealed results of a survey, which showed that half of Britons would not recognise the signs of a possible skin cancer.

Skin CancerA quarter of respondents never checks their skin for the disease nor examine their body for changes to their moles. Surprsingly, one in six people are unaware that a mole can be checked by a GP for free, instead believing this service has to be paid for.

85 percent of respondents still don’t realise that skin cancers make up a third of all UK cancers, with the majority thinking that less than one in 10 cancers affect the skin.

If you are worried about skin cancer, consult your GP.  You will find further information on the following websites:

Web Links

Cancer Research UK:

British Association of Dermatologists:

Cancer Help:

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