THE south west has seen a dramatic increase in the number of people diagnosed with malignant melanoma, new figures from Cancer Research UK reveal.

Over the past 20 years the rates of people diagnosed with malignant melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, has almost doubled in the region.

The results are released as Cancer Research UK and Nivea Sun launch their campaign to encourage people to enjoy the sun safely this summer. Their partnership offers simple advice and easy tips to help people have fun while taking sensible precautions to protect their skin.

The latest incidence rates show that around 21 people in every 100,000 are diagnosed with malignant melanoma in the south west annually. This is compared to just 11 per 100,000 in the early 90s.

Malignant melanoma is now the fifth most common cancer in the UK and more than 2,000 people die from the disease each year.

The rise is partly down to an explosion in package holidays to Europe dating from the late 60s and the increasing popularity of the “must-have” tan often achieved only after damaging sunburn. For more sun safety information from Cancer Research UK visit