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Skin cancer deaths up 150% in UK since 1970s

Cancer Research UK said death rates have risen significantly since the 1970s.

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People enjoy the hot weather at Bournemouth beach in Dorset (PA)

People enjoy the hot weather at Bournemouth beach in Dorset (PA)

People enjoy the hot weather at Bournemouth beach in Dorset (PA)

Cancer experts have issued a warning over sun safety after figures showed a 150% rise in skin cancer death rates.

In the early 1970s, out of every 100,000 people in the UK 1.5 would die of skin cancer, according to Cancer Research UK figures.

But by 2017 this was 3.8 per 100,000 – a rise of 153%.

The rise is greater among men compared to women, the charity said.

Death rates among men are now three times higher than in the 1970s, it added.

The figure has been slowly creeping up over the decades and in 2017 there were 2,357 deaths in the UK attributable to skin cancer.

The vast majority of skin cancer cases are linked to too much sun or using sunbeds.

Around 16,200 people are diagnosed each year with melanoma, making it the fifth most common cancer in the UK, however nine in 10 cases are caught early, Cancer Research UK said.

Michelle Mitchell, the charity’s chief executive, said: “There are many benefits to going outside, felt now more than ever because of sustained periods of lockdown. But something we should all be aware of is sun safety and how to reduce our risk of melanoma.

“Even though many summer holidays on beaches abroad have come to a halt, you can still get burnt in the UK sun. With rates rising, it’s never been more important to stay safe in the sun and contact your GP if you notice any unusual change to your skin.”

The charity urges people to seek shade when the sun is at its hottest – between 11am and 3pm in the UK; to cover up with T-shirts, hats and sunglasses and regular use of an SPF15 sun cream which has four or more stars to indicate the level of UVA protection.

PA