• Spain's news in English

'Most deadly' skin cancer up 50% in last 10 years

Steve Tallantyre · 22 May 2013, 17:03

Published: 22 May 2013 17:03 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Officials from the melanoma unit of Hospital Clinic in Barcelona said on Sunday that cases of the aggressive and deadly form of skin cancer are increasing in Spain.

The number of people affected in Catalonia has risen by 50% in the last decade, with between 7 and 12 cases detected in every 100,000 people, reported local daily La Vanguardia.

Melanoma is the leading form of death from skin disease.

Half a century ago it was thought to affect only sailors and farm labourers but it is now being diagnosed in people as young as 16 or 18, according to dermatologist Susana Puig who works at the Clinic.

It is the most common form of cancer in women aged between 25 and 29, followed by breast cancer, and the most common in men aged between 30 and 35, ahead of lung and colon cancer.

Detectable when it reaches a thickness of 4mm or begins to bleed, melanoma is deadly in 70% of cases.

Puig added: "The only advantage we have now is that in many cases we detect it in the early stages when it can be surgically removed without the need for further treatment."

In addition to avoiding sunbathing during the hours of greatest risk from 1PM to 5PM, which is especially important for children, dermatologists recommend that people should be on the alert for any changes in their skin.

Signs that should result in a visit to the doctor include the appearance of moles or new freckles that have any of the following characteristics: irregular edges; changing colour; increasing size or roughness; lumpiness or shininess; the appearance of a small, dark lentil; bleeding or itchiness.

It is best to err on the side of caution when deciding whether or not to seek medical advice.

"Anyone who can count more than 100 freckles on their body should see a doctor," advised the dermatologist, "even if they don't change colour or size."

Story continues below…

"The specialist should review the whole body during the consultation," she stressed, "though this isn't always done."

Puig added that checkups should include even those parts of the body that are not usually exposed to the sun, such as between the fingers and the scalp.

Many adult melanomas are the result of exposure to the sun during childhood or adolescence. Doctors warn that children under 7 years old should not be exposed to the sun during the hottest hours of the day, even if they are wearing sunscreen and a shirt, as their bodies are more susceptible to rapid and severe sunburn than those of adults.

Steve Tallantyre (news@thelocal.es)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Spain's 'Napflix' aims to bore viewers to sleep
Photo: Screengrab/ Napflix

A Spanish video platform called Napflix, designed to put people to sleep with dull content, was launched this week and its founders are on the lookout for more "monotony and repetition."

Recipe: How to make fabada - traditional Asturian bean stew
Photo: Flavio Lorenzo Sánchez/Flickr

The hearty Asturian dish is a perfect lunch on a cold day... and don't forget the crusty bread and cider!

Brit 'paedo' held on Costa del Sol after Most Wanted appeal

One of Britain's most wanted fugitives was arrested on the Costa Del Sol following a tip-off from an expat just hours after his face appeared on a public appeal.

Spain's parliament approves deficit reduction measures
Photo: Images Money/Flickr

Spanish lawmakers approved on Thursday measures to reduce the public deficit and keep it under the target agreed with the European Union.

'Cubism and War' show opens at Barcelona Picasso Museum
Pablo Picasso Harlequin and Woman with a Necklace. Photo: MP

Barcelona's Picasso Museum unveiled an exhibition on "Cubism and War" on Thursday depicting how one of the most influential artistic styles of the 20th century survived the First World War.

Why this bionic limb pioneer doesn't believe in disability
Hugh Herr has been award Spain's top science prize. Photo: FPA

The Local speaks to Hugh Herr on winning Spain's top science prize and how being an amputee doesn't make him disabled.

Dine in the buff at Spain's first nudist restaurant
A buffet of organic food will be served on "human tables". Photo: Innato / Facebook

Spain's first naked dining experience is to arrive on the island of Tenerife following the success of a similar venture in London.

Spain's top court overturns bullfighting ban in Catalonia
Photo: AFP

Spain's Constitutional Court on Thursday cancelled a bullfighting ban in Catalonia in what is likely to exacerbate tensions between Madrid and the separatist region, and between animal activists and fans of the tradition.

Out of the dark: Five years on from Eta ceasefire
Eta members made a ceasefire declaration in January, 2011. Photo: Gara / AFP

Five years after armed separatist group Eta declared a permanent ceasefire, Basque journalist Alberto Letona is still wondering when the dialogue will begin.

Hunt for ten most wanted Brit fugitives hiding out in Spain
Call Crimestoppers if you recognize these faces.

These fugitives from British justice are thought to be hiding out in Spain. Do you recognize anyone?

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Madrid parish church faces fine over 'too noisy' bells
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Celebrate expat life at Madrid’s THRIVE convention
Fury after kids told to bring their own loo roll to school
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Disney announces plans for Don Quixote action movie
Activist tells 8-yr-old matador wannabe with cancer 'just die'
King to make last minute push to avoid third vote in Spain
Amazing photos of Catalonia's 'human tower' contest
What's on in Spain: October 2016
'No way, Jose! You'll never get your hands on our Rock'
Recipe: How to make a classic Spanish tortilla de patatas
Chorizo in paella? Go back to cooking school Jamie Oliver
Spain in eye of a perfect storm after 10 months without govt
Thousands share clips of life for 'Spain in a Day' film
Ten incredible Spain locations for Game of Thrones season 7
Analysis & Opinion
Why moving to Spain could be the best decision of your life
Seven reasons why autumn is the very best season in Spain
Spanish study finds four types of personality. Which are you?
New search underway for civil war grave of poet Lorca
Bison found decapitated on Valencia nature reserve
Forgotten Voices: What Brits in Spain think about Brexit
One dead and 14 injured in blast at Spanish resort
Game of Thrones want extras 'with muscles' to film in Spain
Thousands march in Madrid to push for bullfighting ban
jobs available