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Scottish Officials Report Sharp Rise In Skin Cancer Rates

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Cases of skin cancer in Scotland have increased sharply in a decade, prompting warnings about the dangers of "unsafe" tanning.

Official figures published today show a 62.8% increase in malignant melanoma between 2000 and 2010.

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said: "These figures are yet another stark warning of the dangers of unsafe tanning, either in the sun or using sunbeds.

"People need to realise how essential it is to wear sunscreen and cover up in the sun. Doing this and avoiding sunbed use really could save your life.

"Using sunbeds is dangerous and that is why Scotland led the way by being the first part of the UK to introduce legislation to address the health risks associated with sunbed use."

There were 1,141 cases of melanoma in 2010, according to the figures released by health statistics service ISD Scotland.

The Public Health (Scotland) Act 2008 banned the use of sunbeds by under 18s.

It required operators to display notices warning of the health risks and to provide information to users of sunbeds on those risks.

The figures are part of wider statistics on cancer across Scotland. Although the fastest growing form, melanoma was the sixth most common form of cancer, behind lung, bronchus and trachea, affecting 4,839 people in 2010 - down 3.7% in 10 years.

Breast cancer was second most common overall, and most common among women, affecting 4,480 people. Kidney cancer also showed a marked change, increasing by 36.8% over the decade, and affecting 863 people.

ISD Scotland said the reason for the increase is not clear, but said risk factors include obesity and smoking.

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