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Sunburnt Holiday-makers Boost Their Chances of Fatal Skin Cancer

One third of young British holiday-makers will double their chances of developing the most fatal form of skin cancer this summer because they plan to get burnt on the beach. //

A national survey by Cancer Research UK, to launch its 2007 SunSmart campaign, found that 30 per cent of 16-24 year olds said they were certain to get sunburnt on their summer holiday. And a further 30 per cent said they might get sunburnt.

The survey questioned 2000 men and women of all ages throughout Britain about their sunbathing habits.

Overall more than a quarter of adults (27 per cent) thought getting burnt was all part of getting a tan. Almost one fifth (19 percent) said they planned to get burnt and a further 21 per cent said they might.

Scientists know that malignant melanoma, the potentially fatal form of skin cancer, is linked to short intense bursts of over-exposure to the sun. And research has shown that sunburn doubles the risk of skin cancer.

Dr Lesley Rhodes, a Cancer Research UK dermatologist, said: "Getting sunburnt increases the risk of skin cancer in general. But the kind of sunbathing binges that happen when people go to much hotter climates and bake on the beach is particularly dangerous.

"This kind of short intense exposure to the sun, leading to burning, particularly increases the risk of malignant melanoma. And each year in Britain almost 2000 people die from this form of skin cancer."

Dr Rhodes added that it was particularly worrying that more than a quarter of people surveyed believed burning was all part of getting a tan. "Rates of melanoma are set to treble in the next thirty years unless there is a radical change of behavior among holiday makers addicted to sunbathing."

Teresa Hughes, a 53-year-old mother of two from Bedfordshire, has undergone surgery to reconstruct the side of her nose after she was diagnosed with both malignant melanoma on her cheek and non melanoma
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