Skin cancer cases in Welsh over-50s quadruple
The number of people aged in their fifties which have been diagnosed with the most aggressive form of skin cancer in Wales as quadrupled over the last three decades.
According to new research from Cancer Research UK there are currently 27 cases of malignant melanoma per 100,000 people aged between 50 and 59 in the principality – a figure which has risen from just six per 100,000 at the end of the 1970s.
It means that the condition is now the fifth most common cancer found in Wales, whereas it was 19th in the last 1970s.
The charity said that the rise in cases could be the result of people going on more cheap package holidays and the increased use of sunbeds, although an exact reason cannot be given.
Yinka Ebo, senior health information officer with Cancer Research UK, said: "It could have something to do with a change in tanning culture.
"In the 1970s there was an explosion of cheap package holidays and also the introduction of sunbeds.
"Malignant melanoma, like many cancers, can take years or decades to develop, so these figures could be a result of past behaviour."
Ms Ebo added that the figures found in Wales present one of the largest increases in cases seen across the whole of the UK.
Cancer Research UK has revealed that it will be working with the supermarket chain Tesco to launch a new leaflet campaign that it hopes will raise awareness regarding the damage too much sun can cause and also enable people to spot the early signs of malignant melanoma.
Karen Davies, of the charity, stated: "If people are diagnosed when the cancer is in the early stages, before it has had a chance to spread around the body, treatment is more likely to be successful.
"Through our campaign with Tesco, we want to highlight the signs and symptoms of skin cancer and encourage people to visit their doctor promptly if they notice any unusual changes in their skin."