As many as five men and women in their 50s in the UK are diagnosed with a fatal form of skin cancer every day.
According to a Cancer Research UK press release, the number of people in the UK diagnosed with melanoma has increased sharply from being fewer than 500 to almost 2,000 since the end of 1970's. Experts say that the increase in the number of cases is probably due to increased awareness about the cancer.
The latest figures show that malignant melanoma across all ages has increased by almost 5 percent from around 12,100 cases in the UK in 2009 to around 12,800 in 2010.
Cancer Research UK and Tesco are working together to raise awareness about skin cancer risks.
Melanoma can be cured if detected early
Protecting skin from sunburn can help prevent occurrence of skin cancer. Experts say that use of tanning beds drastically increases chances of skin cancer.
“Melanoma is a largely preventable disease; people can reduce their chance of developing skin cancer in the first place if they protect their skin from sunburn. But it’s also important that people are aware of the warning signs for malignant melanoma," said Sara Hiom, director of information at Cancer Research UK, in a statement.
Any asymmetric new mole with ragged contours and uneven colors must be shown to a physician immediately.
“Look out for changes in size, shape, or colour of a mole, freckle or normal patch of skin - these should be reported to a GP without delay. In particular look for moles or freckles that are asymmetrical, with uneven colours or borders, larger than a pencil top eraser, are itchy or bleed," Hiom said. Melanoma in the U.S
Recent studies have suggested that American teens ignore skin cancer warnings. Two studies have reported that almost 50 percent of U.S teenagers have suffered from sunburns in the past year.
According to National Cancer Institute, more than 76,000 new cases have been reported this year and almost more than 9000 people have already died from the cancer. Melanoma occurs as a mole on skin but can occur in the eye and intestines.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that risk of developing melanoma varies with race and ethnicity. White people are more likely to die of melanoma than Hispanic or Black people.
The cost of skin cancer is huge, roughly about $1.7 billion in treatment and about $3.8 billion as loss of productivity, according to reports.