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Pensioners 'face higher melanoma risk'

09 April 2015 08:13

Malignant melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer

Malignant melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer

A cancer charity says male pensioners are 10 times more likely to have malignant melanoma now than men of pension age were 40 years ago.

Older women are five times more likely to suffer from the deadliest type of skin cancer and OAPs in general are seven times more likely to develop the disease, according to Cancer Research UK.

It says that every year as many as 5,700 people aged 65 or over are told they have malignant melanoma, but in the 1970s just 600 people were diagnosed with the disease.

Sufferers who want or have to go overseas may be able to cover the cost of any treatment they need by taking out specialist cancer travel insurance.

Older people are more likely to have melanoma, but it is thought that the main reason for the increase in cases was the boom in cheap package holidays that began in the 1960s.

Experts have suggested that people who are burned by the sun every other year are three times as likely to develop melanoma than those who have never been sunburned.

Skin cancer affects all ages

The rise in melanoma rates in people of all ages is a concern, according to Cancer Research UK's skin cancer expert, Professor Richard Marais.

He says it is crucial that people take care of their skin when they are exposed to the sun, but also check their skin and moles for changes and see a doctor if they notice any difference.

Melanoma can often be found on the legs of women and men's backs, but it can affect skin all over the body, Prof Marais says.

Malignant melanoma is the fifth most common cancer but it is the second most likely cancer to affect people between the ages of 15 and 34.

Every year, around 13,300 people are told they have it, and 2,100 people die from the disease.

Safe fun in the sun

Cancer Research UK has now joined forces with Nivea Sun to offer advice so people can have fun in the sun safely this summer.

Often cases of malignant melanoma are preventable by making sure you do not get burned by the sun and taking the proper precautions like wearing high factor sun cream, according to Dr Julie Sharpe, the charity's head of health information.