Skin cancer hospital admissions leap by 40% in five years
Admissions to English hospitals for skin cancer rose from 87,685 in 2007 to 123,808 in 2011, new figures show
The number of people admitted to hospital for skin cancer has increased by 41% in just five years, new figures show.
There has been a significant rise in admissions for skin cancers, which are largely preventable, the British Association of Dermatologists said.
The data, which will be presented at the world congress on cancers of the skin in Edinburgh later this week, show that admissions to English hospitals for both non-melanoma skin cancer and malignant melanoma rose from 87,685 in 2007 to 123,808 in 2011.
The figures, collated by researchers at Public Health England, do not include skin cancer sufferers treated as day patients.
Skin cancers are the most common form of cancer in England, with numbers of skin cancers equal to all other types of cancers combined, the British Association of Dermatologists said.
The association blamed the increase on the rise in cheap holidays and people tanning themselves as a "fashion statement".
The study also found that the overall cost of inpatient treatment for skin cancers in 2011 was more than £95m.
"As holidays to sunny locations become cheaper and tanned skin remains a desirable fashion statement, we have seen an inevitable increase in skin cancer incidence rates and the associated health and financial burden they place on the nation," said spokesman Johnathon Major.
"Skin cancers are largely preventable and more must be done to communicate to the public the serious risks associated with unmediated sun exposure if we are to see a decline in these figures."
Commenting on the figures, Prof Jane Maher, chief medical officer at charity Macmillan Cancer Support, said: "Today's figures are a clear warning sign that the British public are still not taking the risks of skin cancer seriously enough.
"What makes this even more alarming is that this is a largely preventable disease, yet UK skin cancer death rates are amongst some of the worst in the world.
"We all have a role to play in reducing skin cancer hospital admissions. The public need to do more to protect themselves from the dangers of the sun and all political parties must ensure that cancer remains a top health priority ahead of the next general election."