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ENGLEMED HEALTH NEWS

Skin cancer survival rising

Monday July 22nd, 2013

Survival from the skin cancer melanoma has risen sharply in the last 40 years, new figures show.

Professor Richard Marais of Manchester University, UK, and his team looked at survival rates for the UK and found that over 80% of patients now survive the disease, compared with about 50% in the early 70s.

The survival rate among women is higher than that for men - 90% versus 80%. Full details are released today (22 July).

Professor Marais says this improvement is probably due to better treatment, early diagnosis and greater awareness of the symptoms. But he adds that there are still nearly 13,000 cases of melanoma diagnosed in the UK each year.

"Forty years ago, only around half of those diagnosed with skin cancer were surviving, so eight out of ten is a massive improvement," he said. "More and more people are beating skin cancer but we can't stop there and we need to develop better treatments for the two out of ten where things don't look so good."

He added that much of the recent progress has been possible thanks to the generosity of Cancer Research UK supporters. For example, Cancer Research UK-funded research aided the development of new drugs such as vemurafenib which can extend the lifespan of patients with advanced melanoma.

Dr Harpal Kumar chief executive of the charity commented: "Skin cancer is one of the fastest rising cancers in the UK, which is likely to be down to our sunbathing habits and the introduction of cheap package holidays in previous decades."

Early symptoms include changes to an existing mole or a blemish, of the formation of a new pigmented or unusual-looking growth on the skin.

Cancer Research UK (2013) Cancer Statistics Report: Skin Cancer - UK.

Tags: Cancer | Dermatology | Pharmaceuticals | UK News

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