Skin cancer rates at record high in Ireland

The rate of skin cancer is at a record high in Ireland, it has emerged.

Latest figures show that in 2014 as many as 1,041 people were diagnosed with melanoma in Ireland – the first time the number of incidences here surpassed the 1,000-mark since records began.

Cases of melanoma have almost trebled in the last 20 years. While cases have increased, thankfully so have survival rates; now, almost nine in ten (89.3%) of patients survive for at least five years after their diagnosis.

However, Ireland still has the highest mortality rate in Europe for melanoma, with, on average, 159 people dying from this disease annually.

The Irish Cancer Society is hosting series of public talks on the disease and are warning that most summer days, even cloudy ones, have high enough UV levels to damage skin.

A free public talk takes place tonight from 6:15pm in the Main Auditorium in Cork University Hospital. The talk will also be live-streamed on the Irish Cancer Society’s Facebook page.

Cork-based consultant medical oncologist Dr Derek Power said that white Irish people in particular have "very pale skin" which is "very prone to burning".

"Darker skinned people have more melanin production which can be protective against melanoma" he said.

"So fairer skin - red hair, the classic Irish … type - is particularly at high risk."

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