A SKIN CANCER survivor from Leeds is urging people to take care in the sun as recent figures reveal there has been a dramatic increase in the number of people diagnosed with the disease in Yorkshire.
In the past 20 years the rates of people diagnosed with malignant melanoma – the most serious form of skin cancer – have more than doubled in the region.
New figures from Cancer Research UK show that around 950 people are diagnosed with malignant melanoma in Yorkshire every year.
This is compared to around 360 people being diagnosed in the early 1990s.
Malignant melanoma is the fifth most common cancer in the UK and more than 2,000 people die from the disease each year.
Rates have been increasing dramatically across the UK since the mid 1970s and they are now five times higher across the UK than they were 40 years ago.
Amanda Crosland, 43, of Pudsey, was diagnosed with malignant melanoma in 2001.
The mum-of-two said: “When I noticed a new mole on my left calf, I knew it was safest to get it checked out by the doctor.
“Spotting it early meant I had a successful operation to remove the cancer before it spread. I’ve always been careful to look after my skin, but I do remember getting sunburnt as a girl.
“I still enjoy getting out in the sun, but now make sure my girls and I are properly protected. All you need is a bit of common sense!”
Nicki Embleton, Cancer Research UK spokesperson for Yorkshire, said: “We know overexposure to UV rays from the sun or sunbeds is the main cause of skin cancer.
“This means, in many cases, the disease can be prevented, and so it is essential to get into good sun safety habits, whether at home or abroad.
“Everyone loves getting out and about and enjoying the summer sun but sadly more and more people in Yorkshire are being diagnosed with malignant melanoma each year.”
She added: “But the good news is that survival for malignant melanoma is amongst the highest for any cancer. More than 8 in 10 people, like Amanda, will now survive the disease.”
The charity is advising people to reduce the risk of malignant melanoma and avoid getting sunburn by wearing a hat, t-shirt and sunglasses and use at least factor 15 sunscreen.
For more sun safety tips, visit www.sunsmart.org.uk.