More than four-fifths of melanoma patients now survive the disease

22 July 2013

The past 40 years has seen a major increase in survival rates for melanoma, thanks largely to improvements in skin cancer treatment and diagnosis, new figures show.

A report published by Cancer Research UK reveals that 80 per cent of men and 90 per cent of women with melanoma skin cancer now survive for at least ten years, compared with 38 and 58 per cent, respectively, in the early 1970s.

However, skin cancer is still on the rise in the UK, with nearly 13,000 cases diagnosed each year.

Early diagnosis is important for improving a patient's chances of survival, according to Dr Harpal Kumar, Cancer Research UK's chief executive.

"That's why it's important to get to know your skin and if you notice anything unusual, such as a change to a mole or a blemish that still hasn't healed after a few weeks, then get it checked out by your GP," he said.

Professor Richard Marais, director of the charity's Paterson Institute for Cancer Research in Manchester, also cautioned against complacency.

He noted: "More and more people are beating skin cancer but we can't stop there and we need to develop better treatments for the two out of ten where things don't look so good."

Posted by Philip Briggs

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