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Scotland’s skin cancer survival rates have improved dramatically over the past 30 years

 

Eight out of 10 men and nine out of 10 women diagnosed with the most dangerous form of skin cancer will now survive the disease, according to a new report.

Cancer Research UK said 30 years ago only 58% of men and 78% of women beat the disease.

Scotland’s improved survival rates are linked to better treatment, early diagnosis and awareness of the symptoms, the charity said.

Its latest poster campaign highlights progress but urges more to be done.

Over the summer, it has asked the public to help by entering local fundraising events, returning sponsorship money for Race for Life, or donating goods to one of their charity shops.

Supporters’ generosity

Dr Tim Crook, from the University of Dundee, who treats melanoma and works on Cancer Research UK projects, said: “We’ve come a long way in the fight against skin cancer and that’s largely down to the generosity of supporters who have funded research to help us better understand the disease and find new ways of beating it.

“Eight out of 10 is great, but obviously that means we still need to do more for the two out of 10 where things don’t look so good.”

He said research from Cancer Research UK-funded laboratories had allowed the development of drugs like Vemurafenib, which he said could give patients with advanced melanoma “valuable extra months”.

Cancer Research UK’s Linda Summerhayes said its research was also behind the discovery that faults in a gene called BRAF contribute to over half of all cases of malignant melanoma.

“Since then, our scientists have led efforts to develop drugs that target this gene,” she said.

“Skin cancer is one of the fastest rising cancers in the UK, which is likely to be down to our sunbathing habits and the introduction of cheap package holidays in previous decades.”

‘Very lucky’

Long term survivor of skin cancer, Caroline Begg, of Glasgow, was diagnosed with malignant melanoma in 2006, when she was 26-years-old after using sunbeds regularly.

The 33-year-old mother-of-two said: “I was very lucky that my cancer was caught early. I think going to the doctor early and the treatment I received saved my life.

“Now I am the most cautious person in the sun and would never ever use a sunbed.

“I would urge everyone to take care so they don’t have to go through the trauma I did.”

In Scotland, about 1,200 people are diagnosed with malignant melanoma every year – more than three people per day.

via BBC News – Scottish skin cancer survival rates at all-time high.

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