Experts predict skin cancer will decrease in young people by 2050

2 February 2017

Experts predict skin cancer will decrease in young people by 2050

Malignant Melanoma is currently the cause of around 2,500 deaths in Britain a year. However, experts are now predicting that as a result of the advances in the treatment of skin cancer and an increased awareness of the risks, thousands of young lives will be saved by 2050.

Researcher Professor Philippe Autier, expert in population research and Vice President at the International Prevention Research Institute, recently spoke at a cancer conference in Amsterdam.

He said: “As time passes, melanoma deaths will become steadily rarer in people younger than 50 years. After 2050, practically all melanoma deaths will occur in people over the age of 70."”

These predictions are founded on the lack of sun protection advice and inadequate health policies applied to those born between 1920 and 1960. These people are at the highest risk of developing melanoma. In their youth, they were not warned about the health hazards of prolonged exposure to the sun.

At the time, health professionals believed the sun posed no danger and could aid healing of certain skin infections.

The poor advice of the past has, inevitably, placed a large number of people at risk of sun damage. With medical professionals and cancer organisations now stressing the importance of looking after our skin, however, younger generations are considerably better-informed and better aware of the risks of sun damage.  

Although death rates from malignant melanoma are predicted to decrease by 2050, experts believe the numbers of people dying from the disease will in fact increase, due to ageing populations. The hope remains that, if advances in treatment continue, and prove to be effective, the number of deaths will decrease too.

Prevention is the best cure

As we begin looking forward to our summer holidays in 2017, it is important we prepare as best we can to protect ourselves in the sun, decreasing UV damage to skin and reducing the risk of developing skin cancer.

The Skin Cancer Foundation is the only international organisation devoted solely to education, prevention and treatment of skin cancer.

The foundation recommends a number of steps to follow, in order to stay safe in the sun. These include:

  • Always use sunscreen with a SPF of 15 or higher when exposed to the sun
  • Avoid tanning and UV tanning beds completely
  • Seek the shade, especially important between 10am – 4pm
  • Examine your skin monthly, from head to toe
  • See your physician every year for a professional skin examination

To see the full list of prevention guidelines and for more information in regards to skin cancer prevention and living a healthy lifestyle, visit The Skin Cancer Foundation’s website.