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Rates of the deadliest form of skin cancer could triple in the next 30 years if Britons do not protect themselves from the sun's harmful rays
Rates of the deadliest form of skin cancer could triple in the next 30 years if Britons do not protect themselves from the sun's harmful rays, scientists said on Wednesday. More than 7,300 cases of malignant melanoma are diagnosed each year in Britain and 1,700 people die of the disease but Professor Brian Diffey, of Newcastle General Hospital in northern England, said many cases could be prevented. "If present rates of melanoma continue, as they have done in the last 25 years, then in 30 years time the rates are predicted to be three times what we see today," Diffey told Reuters. Malignant melanoma affects 7,300 people every year, and causes 1,600 deaths. By 2035, there could be 21,000 new cases every year, which would put melanoma among the top five cancers. Even if people do behave more sensibly, it will be more than 20 years before rates peak and begin to decline, Professor Brian Diffey of Newcastle General Hospital said yesterday, as Cancer Research UK announced its annual SunSmart campaign. That is because the cancer takes decades to emerge and many younger people have already suffered enough sunburn to cause it. Even in Australia, which started prevention campaigns long before Britain, the first signs of a declining rate in some age groups have only just begun to appear. Professor Diffey said that his research into future trends in skin cancer showed it would take many years before rates started to level off and drop, reports the Times Online
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