Pensioners seven times more likely to get deadly skin cancer than 40 years ago

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People over 65 are around seven times more likely to develop malignant melanoma compared to 40 years ago, according to new figures released by Cancer Research UK today (Monday).

“Many cases of malignant melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, are preventable by taking precautions in the sun and making sure you don’t burn.” – Dr Julie Sharp

Older men in Great Britain are around 10 times more likely to be diagnosed with this kind of life-threatening skin cancer than their parents’ generation while older women are around five times more likely to develop this disease.*

The most recent figures show that on average around 5,700 pensioners are now diagnosed with melanoma each year compared with just 600 in the mid 1970s.**

While age is one of the biggest risk factors for melanoma the huge increase in pensioners being diagnosed with the disease is ikely to be linked to the cheap package holiday boom dating from the 1960s, and the desirability of having a tanned appearance even at the expense of painful sunburn.

Getting sunburnt just once every two years can triple your risk of developing malignant melanoma and even reddening of the skin is a sign of damage.

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