New statistics reveal that skin cancer among middle-aged and older people is due to lengthy exposition to sun on holidays for decades. Nowadays, 10,000 people ages 55 are diagnosed with skin cancer each year, in Britain; a number quite significantly comparing with the 3,100 diagnosed in the mid-90s. Also, the number of deaths from melanoma in aged people has increased 2,000 a year.
Sarah Williams, Cancer Research UK’s health information manager, said “The increase in over-55s being diagnosed is likely to be linked to the ‘sun, sea and sangria’ generation who benefited from the cheap package holiday boom dating from the 1960s, and the desire to have tanned skin even at the expense of sunburn.”
Affordable package holidays and dark tans are the cause
A British European Airways started flying from London to Alicante in 1957, and they invented the term “Costa Blanca” to refer to the 125 miles of white beaches in Spain. This attacked millions of British who would travel all the way to Spain to get beautiful tans during the holidays. However, by that time not a lot of travelers would have used sunscreen neither would have been aware of the dangers of getting sunburnt on the long road.
Sue Deans, a retired teacher, and mother of three has faced skin cancer twice. The first time, she was diagnosed with a malignant melanoma in 2000, and the second time was in 2007 when doctors discovered a lump under her armpit. She said to Dailymail UK that she was part of the generation where package holidays became affordable, and people were starting to take these trip every year.
“I loved being out in the sun, working on my tan but did get sunburnt quite a bit over the years. I don’t think people understood at the time the impact that too much sun can have on your risk of getting skin cancer. “Luckily, my cancer was spotted early. I had a successful surgery and had been healthy ever since” she added.
Melanoma is the fifth most common type of cancer in the UK
In the UK 15,000 people will be diagnosed with melanoma each year since this disease is considered the fifth most common type of cancer in the country. When people get sunburst once every two years, they triple the risk of developing melanoma. Doctors say that reddening of the skin can cause significant damage and increase the risk.
In the last 20 years, the rates of “sun, sea and sangria” generation diagnosed with melanoma have risen by 222 per cent. Also, skin cancer diagnosis has increased 63 percent for people under 55s.
Nick Ormiston-Smith said that it was worrying to see how malignant melanoma rates rise progressively what makes even more important to take care of one’s skin in the intense sun, especially when we have suffered from sunburns in the past.
Dr. Julie Sharp, Cancer Research UK’s head of health and patient information said that the sun provides us vitamin D which is necessary for our heath, but it is also important to enjoy the sunlight carefully, this means, avoiding getting sunburnt.
Sharp also added that Skin cancer is the “most severe form” of skin cancer and that paying attention to this can reduce the risk of malignant melanoma.
Doctors say the best way to protect ourselves from the terrible side effects of the sunlight is to spend time in the shade to spend time in the shade between 11 am and 3 pm because it the time where the sunlight is intense and harmful to our skins. They recommend wearing cotton t-shirts to be fresh, hats to protect our heads and hair, and sunscreens to avoid getting headaches.
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Sharp also said that sunscreen could help protect the body parts that are impossible to cover, like face. She recommends to use sunscreens with at least SPF 15 and 4 or more stars, put generously on your body and reapply it regularly. However, she stated that people should not depend on sunscreens only. She recommends to use other products whenever possible and never use the only sunscreen if you are going to stay in the sun for a lot of time.