A new study showed that the rate of skin cancer in men has increased fivefold.
The incidence rates for the disease have increased over the past few decades, increasing by 250 percent in women.
A study by the Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS) analyzed data from more than 265,000 people diagnosed with skin cancer in England between 1981 and 2008.
The study’s lead author, Professor Anjum Memon, said: “Our study shows that overall skin cancer rates have risen steadily and significantly over the past four decades, largely due to the continuously increasing rates in middle age (35) -64) and age (over 65). “
Professor Memon, Chair of Epidemiology and Medicine in Public Health at BSMS, added: “We observed that the largest increases were in men (more than double that of women) and in old age.
“The steeper increase in men is consistent with their relatively greater exposure to the sun and their poor sun protection behavior.”
A risk factor for developing skin cancer is excessive exposure to UV radiation from the sun (or sunlight).
It is estimated that around 86 percent of all skin cancers in the UK are due to sun exposure.
The second leading cause of skin cancer, according to scientists, is exposure to artificial UV radiation sources from indoor tanning beds and lamps.
Peter Bannister, medical student at BSMS and co-author of the study, said: “The study also showed for the first time that skin cancer rates in young people (0-34 years old) in England have stabilized (or balanced out) over the past two decades .
“This finding suggests that public health campaigns targeting children, adolescents and parents can have a positive impact on skin cancer incidence.”
The study was published in The Lancet Regional Health – Europe.