Rise In Skin Cancer May Be Linked To Cheap Vacation Packages

Senior couple sitting in chairs on beach, eyes closed
Senior couple sitting in chairs on beach, eyes closed

Adults older than 65 are seven times more likely to develop skin cancer than they were about 40 years ago.

According to new figures released by Cancer Research UK, approximately 5,700 retirees in Great Britain are diagnosed malignant melanoma each year, compared to 600 in the mid 1970s.

Age is among the biggest factors for increased risk for skin cancer, but that doesn't explain the precipitous rise over the past 40 years. Researchers believe that the increased risk may be linked to cheap vacation packages, which have surged in popularity and availability since the 1960s. The desire for tanned skin -- that "healthy," movie star glow -- has also increased. Unfortunately, to achieve the look, many suffer through sun burns and neglect to properly protect their skin, which ups the risk for skin cancer.

"Getting sunburnt just once every two years can triple your risk of developing malignant melanoma and even reddening of the skin is a sign of damage," the UK research organization published in its press release. Malignant melanoma is the fifth most common cancer in the UK. Not all skin cancer can be prevented, but there are simple measures people can take, like limiting exposure to UV rays, wearing sunscreen and the proper protective gear (like a hat and a shirt) and skipping tanning beds, to reduce their risk.