Skin cancer rise prompts sun warning as region gears up for hottest weekend of the year so far
- Credit: PA
Experts today say rising rates of skin cancer serve as a warning to the public about not protecting themselves from the sun.
With temperatures set to rise up to 23C by Sunday – doctors are urging anyone who plans to spend much time outdoors to guard themselves from sunburn.
The number of skin cancer patients has rocketed since the late 1990s – with one leading doctor describing the rise in Norfolk as 'shocking'.
Researchers from the N&N found an 81pc increase in the number of patients from East Norfolk and Waveney who were treated for basal cell carcinoma (the most common but mainly non-fatal type of skin cancer) between 1999 and 2010.
Nick Levell, consultant dermatologist at the hospital who led the research, said the trend was likely to continue.
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He warned this would produce a growing burden on healthcare resources.
And David Eedy, president of the British Association of Dermatologists, added there were several possible reasons for why skin cancer was on the rise.
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'We have an ageing population and skin cancers become more common the older we get, although they occur in younger people too,' he said.
'We have also seen an increased use of sunbeds.
'Without doubt the vast majority of skin cancers are preventable, with too much sun exposure being the main culprit.
'Over the years sunshine holidays have become more affordable and tanned skin remains a desirable fashion statement.'
A new survey carried out by the association found that 72pc of the people asked admitted being sunburned last year.
The risk of developing melanoma – the deadliest form of skin cancer – more than doubles in people with a history of sunburn compared with people who have never been sunburned. Around one in 6,000 people gets a melanoma in Norfolk every year.
A talk will be held at the N&N's skin tumour unit to let people know how to prevent and spot skin cancer.
Eunice Tan, another consultant dermatologist at the hospital, said: 'In Norfolk we have a population which may have spent many years working outdoors in agriculture and can be at risk of skin cancer.
'We can give advice on the risk factors for skin cancer and how to prevent it.'
Sun Awareness Week starts on Monday and the talk is on Wednesday from 6pm-7.30pm. To book a place, call 01603 287634.
For more information on how to protect yourself from the sun, visit www.bad.org.uk/sunawareness