What is Melanoma?

Melanoma is a serious form of cancer, usually arising from the pigment-producing cells within the skin. 

Melanoma is the UK’s most rapidly-increasing type of cancer, with around 13,000 new cases every year – a fourfold increase since the 1970s. It is becoming more and more common in the UK, where it is the 6th most common cancer – with more women than men affected. It is the most common form of cancer in young adults.

Ultraviolet radiation, which comes from the sun or from sunbeds, is an important factor that increases the risk of developing melanoma, but some people are inherently more at risk of getting melanoma than others. Cancer Research UK reports that 2,203 people died from malignant melanoma in 2010.

CRUK’s latest report on cancer statistics, Cancer Incidence for Common Cancers, states:

Malignant melanoma is the fastest increasing cancer in males and the second fastest increasing cancer in females (with age-standardised rates rising by 67% and 51%, respectively, in the last decade). Some of the increase may be due to increased surveillance and early detection as well as improved diagnosis, but most is considered to be real and linked to changes in recreational or holiday exposure to UV rays (including sunlight and sunbeds).

High quality information about melanoma is available to complement what is provided by healthcare teams. See the links to melanoma web pages in Weblinks and the September 2012 report of the Parliamentary working group, The Melanoma Taskforce.






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