Health bosses' warning as latest Sheffield skin cancer figures revealed

Parts of South Yorkshire have seen a fall in skin cancer rates, according to official figures

Sunday, 15th May 2022, 9:14 pm

Sheffield and Doncaster have both seen a fall in patients diagnosed with melanoma, the most serious skin cancer – but local health experts are warning the illness still presents a risk.

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Both areas have seen the rate of cases of Melanoma dip from 2014 to 2019, but during the same time period, cases have risen in neighbouring Rotherham and Barnsley.

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Parts of South Yorkshire have seen a fall in skin cancer rates, according to official figures. Picture shows doctor examining patient in clinic. Visiting dermatologist

Sheffield’s figures are down from 116 cases diagnosed in 2014, to 107 in 2019. a 7.8 per cent fall. It placed the city 98th out of 108 health authority areas, meaning it has one of the lowest number of diagnosed cases per hundred thousand people (18.3). There were 692 cases diagnosed over the six year period

Doncaster’s were down from 64 to 62, a 3.1 per cent fall. It placed the borough 92nd in the country, with 19.9 diagnosed per 100,000. There were 354 cases diagnosed over the six year period.

But Barnsley saw a 37.5 per cent rise in new cases diagnosed, from 48 to 66 (26.7 per 100,000), and Rotherham saw a 16 per cent rise from 49 to 57 (21.5 per 100,000).

Sheffield’s director of public Health, Greg Fell said although it was good to see a figure that had fallen in the city, people still needed to be cautious over the dangers of skin cancer, and warned that the comparatively small number of cases in local figures, rather than national figures, meant he remained wary of the significance of the statistics.

He said: “If there is a reason why Sheffield is among the lower figures, it could be down to something as simple as we’re further north than many places, so get less sun.”

He added regardless of the rate, most skin cancer was preventable and treatable, particularly if picked up early.

Doncaster’s deputy director of public health, Rachael Leslie said: “It is encouraging to see that the rates of skin cancer in Doncaster appear to be lower than what we have seen previously. However, it is important that we continue to take precautions to protect our skin especially with the summer sun approaching. You can do this by wearing a hat, wearing clothing that covers your skin and using and reapplying a high factor sun cream. This is especially important for children.

“It is vital that if anybody notices a change in their skin that they speak to their GP. To find out more about the signs and symptoms of skin cancer, please visit the NHS website.”

Nationally, diagnoses rose 16 per cent over five years.

Causes of skin cancer

Matthew Gass, of the British Association of Dermatologists (BAD), said: “Skin cancer cases have been on the rise since the 1970s and it is now the most common cancer in the UK."

He said factors in the rise may include an ageing population, better cancer registration practices and changes to sun-seeking behaviour.

The most common cause of skin cancer is exposure to ultraviolet light from the sun or sunbeds.

Mr Gass said the three main ways to better protect yourself from the sun are shade, clothing and sunscreen.

“As a last line of defence, wear sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30 and UVA protection,” he added.