We have all seen people with pink , red and even blistering skin around so it is little surprise that incidence rates for melanoma skin cancer are projected to rise by 7% in the UK between 2014 and 2035, to 32 cases per 100,000 people by 2035. 1 in 54 people will be diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer during their lifetime. Melanoma skin cancer in England is less common in people living in the most deprived areas because it relates directly to sunburn, especially occurring in short bursts such as foreign holidays. The risk of developing melanoma — the deadliest form of skin cancer — is more than doubled in those with a history of sunburn. Skin cancer is the most common cancer in Britain. More than 100,000 new cases of non-melanoma cancer and more than 13,000 new cases of melanoma are diagnosed each year. More than 2,100 Britons die from malignant melanoma every year and it is now the commonest skin cancer in young women.
Its truly alarming : as doctors we often see really health conscious individuals, non smoking, slim and physically fit. believing they are taking very good care of their health, but deeply tanned and unconcerned by this.

So a two pronged attack is needed!

For the future sunscreen at least factor 30, re applied regularly and consistently every single day. Cover up and stay out of the middle of the day sun. And for the past, the damage done by earlier sunburn, get your moles and skin checked by an expert. A doctor trained in the use of a dermatoscope is your friend in this situation: to carefully examine each mole, detecting the very early changes which may mean trouble , early enough to save your life.

Dermatoscopy is painless, and easily accomplished in an hour or less depending on the number of your moles. Onward referral to a dermatologist or plastic surgeon can be arranged if the doctor is at all concerned.

Keep safe on these sunny days: in truth tanned is not a healthy way to be, its a risky strategy.

Dr Jo Josson McConnell

Private GP