More than 10,000 people are being diagnosed with the deadliest form of skin cancer in the UK each year, new research shows.
Data from charity Cancer Research UK revealed that 10,410 people were found to have developed malignant melanoma last year, a rise of more than 650 on the previous year.
It said binge tanning at home and abroad had led to the massive increase. Experts fear the overall figure will rise to above 15,500 by 2024, making malignant melanoma the fourth most common cancer in the UK.
Statistics also showed that the incidence of the disease had jumped from 3.4 per 100,000 people in 1977 to 14.7 per 100,000 in 2006. Though 5,600 women are diagnosed each year, compared with 4,800 men, the death rate among men has increased fivefold. In women it has more than tripled.
Sara Hiom, Cancer Research UK’s director of health information, said: ‘These figures show that a worrying number of people are being diagnosed with this potentially fatal disease.
‘With the rates of malignant melanoma in the UK rising faster than any other cancer, it’s more important than ever that people are aware of the dangers of getting burnt, either in the sun or from using sunbeds.’