Elderly People Seven Times More Likely to Get Malignant Melanoma

According to Cancer Research UK, elderly people are seven times more likely to get skin cancer than they were in the 70s. The reason lies in the fact that pensioners are increasingly craving tanned skin and the fact that cheap package holidays are on the rise. Each year close to 6,000 elderly people are diagnosed with melanoma, the research has found. There were only 600 cases back in the mid-1970s. Men are in even greater danger – they are ten times more likely to develop the illness.

Leeds University professor of clinical oncology and biotherapy Alan Melcher said: “It’s a legacy that is coming through from the time of the early package holidays when people got sunburnt on holiday and didn’t know the risk they were undergoing.” Mercher also stressed that cancer and melanoma are more likely to affect people as they get older.

The figures are scary – malignant melanoma is diagnosed each year in 13,300 patients in the United Kingdom, which makes it the fifth most occurring cancer. As many as 2,100 people die each year from the illness. It has been proven that people who get sunburnt only once every two years are three times as likely to get malignant melanoma. The good news is that many cases are preventable, according to Dr Julie Sharp, head of health information of Cancer Research UK. “Avoiding sunburn and sunbeds is crucial for prevention of the development of malignant melanoma.”
 

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