The Silverink: According to Cancer Research UK, pensioners are seven times more likely to develop skin cancer than they were in 1970’s.
They are blaming the cheap holiday packages and people’s desire for a tanned appearance.
In 1970’s there were only 600 cases diagnosed with melanoma and now on an average 5,700 people are diagnosed with the disease each year.
Older men in Great Britain are now 10 times more likely to develop the disease.
Alan Melcher, a professor ofclinical oncology and biotherapy at Leeds University, 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.”
Cancer and melanoma are more common as people are getting older.
Each year there are about 13,300 people diagnosed with malignant melanoma, and this figure makes it the fifth most common cancer overall and it is also the second most common disease in young adults aged 15-34.
2,100 people die each year from the disease.
Reddening of skin is a sign of damage.
Since the mid-1970s, older men are more likely to develop the disease than their older generations.
Dr Julie Sharp, Cancer Research UK’s head of health information said, “Sun damage accumulates over time so avoiding sunburn – and sunbeds – is key as well as getting to know your skin type so you don’t overdo it on the beach or even in the garden.”
She added, “You can burn at home just as easily as you can on holiday, so remember to spend time in the shade, wear a T-shirt and a hat to protect your skin and regularly apply
sunscreen that is at least factor 15 and has four stars. Swapping bad sun habits for good ones could save your life.”
Prof Julia Newton-Bishop, professor of dermatology at Leeds University said, “In the past, we have probably talked a lot about the importance of protecting your children, and by implication there’s perhaps a sense that this gets less important as you get older, it’s not less important: if you’re pale skinned, you have to be careful at any age.”
Prof Richard Marais, Cancer Research UK’s skin cancer expert based in Manchester, said people should check on their skin “Seek medical opinion if they see any changes to their moles, or even to normal areas of skin. Melanoma is often detected on men’s backs and women’s legs but can appear on any part of the body.”