Skin dancer deaths rise 150 per cent since 1970s — the signs you need to know

DEATHS from skin cancer have risen 150 per cent since the 1970s — with experts issuing a warning to sun lovers.

When holidays abroad first became popular, 1.5 in 100,000 Brits died of the disease. By 2017, this was 3.8 per 100,000, Cancer Research UK said.

The rise is greater among men and death rates are now three times higher than the 1970s.

In 2017, there were 2,357 UK skin cancer deaths.

The charity’s Michelle Mitchell said:"There are many benefits to going outside, felt now more than ever because of sustained periods of lockdown.

But something we should all be aware of is sun safety and how to reduce our risk of melanoma.

"Even though many summer holidays on beaches abroad have come to a halt, you can still get burnt in the UK sun. With rates rising, it's never been more important to stay safe in the sun and contact your GP if you notice any unusual change to your skin."

What are the warning signs?

The most common sign of skin cancer is a change to a mole, freckle or normal patch of skin.

It's important to know your skin and what it looks like normally so you notice any unusual or persistent changes.

Use a mirror, or ask your partner or a friend to check the areas of your skin that you can't see.

There are five things to look out for when it comes to moles:


If a new or existing spot begins to change shape it could be a sign of skin cancer.

It may grow quite suddenly, or change over time, but if it is asymmetrical it's a good idea to get it checked by a GP.


Spots that have irregular borders are a red flag sign of skin cancer.

It may be a freckle or mole you've had for years that's suddenly got a funny border.

Or you've just developed an odd looking spot.

Either way, see your GP.


Many cancerous moles will have different colours within them.

Or an existing mole may have become darker.

If you have a spot with different colours in it, or a mole starts to get darker, don't risk it – speak to a doctor.


For this point you are looking for a mole that starts to grow.

You may not notice it at first, but after a while you may notice it is larger than it started out.

Any mole that is growing in size needs to be checked by a GP straight away.


Most freckles and moles tends to be flat against the skin.

If one of them suddenly becomes raised it's a sign of skin cancer.

If you naturally have a raised mole on your skin that doesn't mean it won't ever become cancer, so keep an eye on those too.

A change to a mole, freckle or normal patch of skin is a common sign of skin cancer, but there are also other signs to be aware of, including:

  • a new growth or sore that doesn’t heal
  • a spot, mole or sore that itches or hurts
  • a mole or growth that bleeds, crusts or scabs

If you notice any of these signs, see your GP. If you know anyone who has any of these symptoms, insist they see their doctor.

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