Regional Advisory Committee on Cancer - Report on Skin Cancer (September 2004) (PDF 201 KB)

Skin cancer is the diagnosis for about a quarter of all patients with cancer and because most of the work is done on an outpatient basis the true extent of the disease has largely gone unrecognised. Skin cancers are related to ultraviolet radiation exposure. Geographic latitude as well as attitude affects the amount of ultraviolet exposure and the risk of skin cancer, with people from Northern Ireland exposing themselves to higher levels of ultraviolet radiation when on holiday abroad and artificially from sunbeds. Ozone depletion is known to increase the risk of ultraviolet exposure and skin cancer. The majority of people living in Northern Ireland have pale skin and are at increased risk of developing skin cancer, as are some patients with an increased genetic risk for cancer. Some pre-existing skin lesions are known to increase the risk of developing skin cancer. Data collection on the incidence of non melanoma skin cancer in Northern Ireland was not available before the establishment of the Cancer Registry in 1993. There is however good data on the incidence of melanoma before that period. In 1974 there were 39 cases in melanoma in Northern Ireland, by 2000 this had risen by almost 500% to 185 cases. åÊ
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Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety