Melanoma is a dangerous form of skin cancer and experts are predicting a massive 50% increase by 2040 with a 68% increase in fatalities caused by the condition.
A study by the International Agency for Research on Cancer was published in JAMA Dermatology. It estimated that there were 325,000 new melanoma cases and 57,000 deaths in 2020 and predicted estimated that the figures would increase to 510,000 new cases and 96,000 deaths globally by 2040.
The main driver behind the forecast is the ageing population.
The prime cause of melanoma is DNA damage caused by UV radiation from the sun or sunbeds, but it can take many years for the damage to become evident.
Prof David Whiteman, epidemiologist at the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, explained:
“The most likely explanation is that the older people are still paying the price for sun exposure they incurred maybe decades ago, before Slip-Slop-Slap.”
Encouragingly, Australia has seen rates of melanoma declining for those in their 20s-40s, yet this is counterbalanced by ongoing increase for those in their 50s, 60s, 70s and beyond.
Melanoma may initially look like a mole and can even start as a mole; but it is a dangerous form of skin cancer. It starts when the skin cells that produce pigment grow out of control, but can spread quite quickly to other parts of the body.
Researchers stressed that melanoma is largely a preventable cancer. Protecting the skin through use of sunscreen, covering up with clothing/hat and avoiding the sun are simple tips that help the skin with valuable defence against the worst of the sun’s UV rays. The famous ‘Slip Slop Slap’ campaign has now been extended to also include ‘Slide’ and ‘Shade’:
- SLIP on a t-shirt.
- SLOP on SPF 30+ broad spectrum UVA sunscreen.
- SLAP on a broad brimmed hat.
- SLIDE on quality sunglasses.
- SHADE from the sun whenever possible.
Australia is now seeing the benefit of its sun protection health messaging among the younger population, but Anne Cust, of Melanoma Institute Australia said:
“When you introduce a new prevention campaign, you don’t see the results of that the next year. Cancers take a long time to develop – you see the impact of that in 10 years’ time, 20 years’ time.
“It’s really important that people do take preventive actions. We know, for example, that wearing sunscreen reduces risk even at older ages. Even if you’ve had sun damage in the past, it’s important to use preventive behaviours.”
What to look for
The first sign of a melanoma is often a new mole or a change in an existing mole. Regular self-checking and vigilance is key. The ABCDE mole checking rules summarise what to look for:
- Asymmetry – an odd or uneven shape
- Border – this may be unusually rough or jagged
- Colour – tends to be particularly dark or blotchy mix of colours
- Diameter – most melanomas are larger than 6mm (1/4 inch) in diameter
- Evolving – a mole that has changed in appearance or behaviour (e.g. started to itch or ooze)
Look for change…
Of the above, evolving moles is the most worrying sign. So be alert for any changes in how the mole looks, feels or behaves.
Dr Ross Perry calls it the ugly duckling sign – a mole/moles which are different and ‘odd’. A hunch that it’s not right is best checked out by a GP or mole expert.
Dr Ross Perry, a leading mole removal expert who is the Company’s founder and Medical Director, advises patients to seek medical attention as soon as possible to rule out skin cancer.
Melanoma Removal Results
The earlier a melanoma is caught, the better the results will be.
These photos show ‘before and after’ of a melanoma removed by Dr Ross Perry.
A surgical technique known as ellipse excision was used to remove the diseased area and stitches were used to close the wound.
In line with the company’s policy, all moles are sent for testing after removal, so even those that look small, harmless and cosmetic are screened as a matter of best practice.
Skin Surgery Laser Clinics
Cosmedics’ Skin Surgery Laser Clinic offer private mole removal at a selection of clinics based in London and Bristol. Moles are removed using the latest surgical techniques including laser mole removal; with trained doctors and surgeons.
For ultimate peace of mind, Cosmedics Skin Surgery Laser Clinic offer a thorough top to toe mole check carried out by their trained and experienced doctors.
Cosmedics Skin Clinics was founded in 2003 by Dr Ross Perry, a qualified and experienced London GP who has an excellent reputation in skin treatments and has removed thousands of lesions/blemishes in his career.
For more information or to book a consultation, please complete the form on this web page or call 020 7386 0464.