Cheap holidays and sunbeds blamed for rise in skin cancers
Pensioners are seven times more likely to develop the deadliest form of skin cancer than they were four decades ago, according to a new survey.
Men aged 65 and over are around 10 times more likely to be diagnosed with malignant melanoma than their parents' generation while older women are about five times more likely to develop the disease, according to new figures from Cancer Research UK.
Around 5,700 pensioners are now diagnosed with melanoma each year in the UK compared with just 600 in the mid-1970s.
Although age is a major risk factor for melanoma, the huge increase is blamed on the cheap package holiday boom dating from the 1960s.
Getting sunburnt once every two years can triple a person's risk of developing the disease, it is suggested.
Professor Richard Marais, Cancer Research UK's skin cancer expert, said: "It's worrying to see melanoma rates increasing at such a fast pace, and across all age groups.
"It's very important for people to take care of their skin in the sun.
"It's also important for them to keep an eye on their skin and seek medical opinion if they see any changes to their moles, or even to normal areas of skin.
Around 13,300 people across a wide range of ages are diagnosed with malignant melanoma in the UK each year making it the country's fifth most common cancer and the second most common cancer in young adults aged 15 to 34.
Each year, 2,100 Britons die from the disease.
Dr Julie Sharp, Cancer Research UK's head of health information, said: "Many cases of malignant melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, are preventable by taking precautions in the sun and making sure you don't burn."