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Deadly Skin Cancer Bites the Rich Harder

carcinoma than women, accounting for 357 of the 640 cases reported each year.

Women were, however, 30 per cent more likely than men to suffer from malignant melanoma - the least common, but most serious skin cancer - which averages 186 cases a year. Being well-off was a disadvantage when it came to skin cancer. Women living in affluent areas were 29 per cent more likely than people living in disadvantaged areas to suffer from basal cell carcinoma and nearly two and a half times more likely to suffer from malignant melanoma.

Men displayed a similar pattern. They were 41 per cent more likely to suffer from basal cell carcinoma if they lived in an affluent area and two and a half times more likely to suffer from malignant melanoma. Affluence didn't, however, seem to affect squamous cell carcinoma. Malignant melanomas showed the greatest increase over the 12-year study period, with a 48 per cent rise in patients and a 71 per cent rise in samples. Squamous cell caricoma patients rose by 28 per cent, with a 57 per cent rise in samples, and basal cell carcinoma patients rose by 13 per cent, with a 62 per cent rise in samples.

"The majority of the people who live in Northern Ireland have fair skin and the 2001 census revealed that less than one per cent of the population belongs to a black or minority ethnic group" added co-author Dr Olivia Dolan, consultant dermatologist at the Royal Victoria Hospital. "This means that our results are less likely to be affected by different skin tones and ethnic origin than research carried out in countries with a greater ethnic mix," Dolan added.

The authors point out that the general increase in incidences of skin cancer, coupled with ageing populations, will place greater demands on dermatology and other related specialties over the coming years. "The number of people aged 60 and over is set to rise by more than a half by 2030 and 80 per cent of all skin cancers occur in this ag
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