17 May 2011
Sunbathing habits are seeing levels of malignant melanoma (the most serious type of skin cancer) rising in men and women, with over a third of men who have skin cancer getting it on the trunk of their bodies (38%), particularly the back; while the most common place for women is on the legs (42%).
Over the last thirty years the rate of malignant melanomas in Britain have risen faster than any of the top ten cancers in males and females. More than 11,700 people in the UK are diagnosed with malignant melanoma each year.
Ellen Lang, Senior Macmillan Cancer Information Nurse, said:
'It is concerning to see that skin cancer is much more common in men and women. We want people to enjoy the sunny weather but be mindful of the damage too much sun exposure can cause. Some people still don’t really understand that sunbathing and using sun beds damages the skin. Men, it’s important you take extra care in the sun with your chest and backs and women with your legs as these parts of your body are much more vulnerable. Altering your sunbathing habits and covering up in midday sun can help prevent skin cancer so you can enjoy the sun more safely.'
Lisa, age 22 from Devon, said:
'I was only 18 when they told me that the weirdly shaped mole on my leg was advanced skin cancer. It was a terrible shock as I don’t even sunbathe. The operation to remove infected lymph nodes was very invasive and I had to learn to walk again. The emotional effect was severe too and I was hit by depression. I’m now on six monthly check ups and just hope that in a year, I’ll be clear and be able to start my life again.'
Sun Awareness Week is taking place from 2-8 May. For cancer support at home, over the phone, call the Macmillan Support Line free on 0808 808 00 00 (Monday to Friday, 9am – 8pm) or visit www.macmillan.org.uk/skin.
For further information, please contact:
Julie Wills, Media & PR Officer (Assistant), Macmillan Cancer Support
020 7840 4933
Notes to Editors:
Carol Goodman, Macmillan Cancer Information Nurse will be in the Macmillan chat room on Thursday, 05 May from 1pm to 2pm to answer your questions about skin cancers, including how it is diagnosed, treatments you might have and how to get further support. It’s free to sign up to take part in the chat all you need to do is register and join our online community. For more details visit www.macmillan.org.uk/skinchat
Sun Awareness Week (2-8 May) is organised by the British Association of Dermatologists to help raise awareness about skin cancer and encourages early detection.
About Macmillan Cancer Support
Macmillan Cancer Support improves the lives of people affected by cancer, providing practical, medical, emotional and financial support. Working alongside people affected by cancer, Macmillan works to improve cancer care. One in three of us will get cancer. Two million of us are living with it. If you are affected by cancer Macmillan can help.
 Cancer Research UK, Skin cancer- UK incidence statistics http://info.cancerresearchuk.org/cancerstats/types/skin/incidence/
 New registered cases of malignant melanoma in 2008. Office for National Statistics; Information Services Division (ISD) Scotland; Welsh Cancer Intelligence & Surveillance Unit and Northern Ireland Cancer Registry