Government urged to spend more on skin cancer prevention
"Up to 2,000 skin cancer deaths annually could be avoided with greater government investment in public health education and skin cancer services," claims Andrew Langford, chief executive, Skin Care Campaign (SCC) as skin-interested MPs examine the provision for skin cancer care in the UK.
"It is a disgrace that the government spends only £100k on prevention and information about early detection and then spends over £75m on treatment – what a nonsensical and very unsafe way of tackling this life-threatening problem!"
Evidence submitted to the enquiry by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Skin (APPGS), highlights how 2,000 people die each year as a result of skin cancer, and that most of these are patients who presented late because they were unaware of the key signs and symptoms.
The government currently invests around £100,000 in Cancer Research UK to support the SunSMART campaign but, as highlighted by Langford, this figure is risible.
"Cervical cancer kills 1,000 annually – and, quite rightly, the government is investing up to £100m in screening, education and prevention. Yet, despite killing twice this number, skin cancer prevention only warrants 0.1% of the investment!"
Currently the Department of Health spends only £100k on prevention of skin cancer. Langford continues: "This is not even a splash in the ocean in raising public awareness and consequently more and more people are developing skin cancers as a result of inadequate preventative education. In particular children are not being protected sufficiently at home, on the beach or at school."
"The prevalence of skin cancer is escalating at an alarming rate. The government needs to support a properly funded prevention campaign to prevent skin cancer in the first place. It should also seek to provide greater awareness of the condition to ensure that people with potential melanomas present to their GPs earlier and are then referred to properly regulated specialist services. As with so many conditions, prevention and very early detection is far better (and far cheaper) than a cure."