Soaring rates of skin cancer blamed on the advent of cheap foreign travel

Decades of package holidays have been blamed for a steep rise in skin cancer rates over the past ten years.

The number of cases of malignant melanoma – the most deadly form of skin cancer - have increased by 78 per cent among men, and 48 per cent among women since 2003, according to new figures from the Office for National Statistics.

Total incidence per 100,000 of the population rose from 6,995 to 11,281, the figures show.  Experts said many of the patients being diagnosed today had suffered sunburn many decades ago, when overseas holidays became more common, with other cases blamed on the trend for sunbed use.

Nicola Smith, Cancer Research UK’s health information officer, said: “The explosion in package holidays to hot European beaches dating from the late 60s is probably part of the reason malignant melanoma rates continue to go up as the disease can take decades to develop. Unfortunately the desire for a suntan – often the result of damaging sunburn – has left a legacy that’s still with us today.” Telegraph 19/6/14

Iain Mack