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22nd Jul 2021

Experts warn that skin cancer will treble over the next 20 years

Look after your skin.

Cases of skin cancer is on the rise in Ireland and according to experts, it’s set to treble over the next 20 years.

The Irish Cancer Society has warned that the incidence rate of melanoma is increasing in men at a higher rate than women.

Over 13,000 cases are reported in Ireland each year, one in three of all cancer cases are skin related.

12,000 of these are non-melanoma and 1,100 cases are melanoma skin cancers, the charity revealed.

While in 2018, a quarter of the deaths from skin cancer were related to construction work, as well as the outdoor farming industry, Irish Cancer Society cancer prevention manager Kevin O’Hagan added, with 71 deaths that year related to sun exposure.

He also warned that morality rates in men are one and a half times higher for melanoma and twice as high for non-melanoma skin cancer than women.

O’Hagan said: “Getting burned just once every two years can triple your risk of melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer. It’s especially important for parents to protect their children in the sun.”

Dr Bláithín Moriarty, a dermatologist at St. Vincent’s hospital and a professor in UCD told the Irish Times there is and incredibly high year on year increase across Ireland.

She said: “We went from 11,000 cases in 2018 to 13,000 in 2020, while the total national numbers are expected to treble by 2040.

“Most of the cancers we see, 85 per cent, in Ireland are UV induced.”

The Irish Cancer Society is currently advising everyone to limit their time in the sun from 11am to 3pm, typically when UV rays are at their highest.

They said: “Cover skin as much as possible, wear long sleeves and clothes made from close-woven material that does not allow sunlight through.

“Apply sunscreen with a sun protection factor of at least 30+ for adults and 50+ for children, with high UVA protection and water resistant. Reapply regularly, about one ounce of sunscreen for adults. Apply sunscreen to dry skin 15 minutes before going outdoors. When outdoors, reapply sunscreen approximately every two hours, or after swimming or sweating, according to the directions on the bottle.”