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South East coast has England's highest rates of most common cancer, study reveals

The South East coast has England’s highest rates of the most common cancer, according to research due to be published in the British Journal of Dermatology.

The study, carried out by researchers at the University of Nottingham and the British Geological Survey’s Environmental Science Centre in Nottingham, looked at diagnoses of basal cell carcinoma (BCC) across the UK over a six-year period (2004 to 2010). BCC is a type of non-melanoma skin cancer and the primary cause is exposure to ultraviolet light through sunlight or tanning beds.

In England, the South East coast was found to have the highest level of the disease, followed by South Central and South West regions.

The study also found that, despite it being the UK’s most common cancer, BCC is still on the rise, with an increase of 2.6 per cent every year. While an ageing population may contribute to the overall rise, worryingly, the largest average increase was found in the 30 to 39 year age group, followed by those aged 40 to 49.

The researchers further discovered that people living in the least deprived areas were 50 per cent more likely to have a BCC than those with the highest levels of deprivation.

Fiona Bath-Hextall of the University of Nottingham’s Centre of Evidence Based Dermatology and one of the study’s authors said: “Our results indicate that the incidence rate of BCC is increasing, in particular amongst those aged 30 to 49 years. We found that southern regions of the UK have the highest recorded rates of BCC.

“This may be linked to several environmental factors. The most prominent is the latitudinal position - in the UK, the hours of sunshine are normally longer in the south than the northern regions, especially during the summer season. The southern parts of England and Wales usually receive the greatest hours of annual sunshine.”

For socioeconomic deprivation, incidence of BCC was consistently higher in the most affluent groups. This may be linked to higher levels of income for frequent holidays overseas to sunnier places, thereby exposing the skin to sunlight, or having available funds for pursuing other lifestyle habits which are risk factors for BCC.

Nina Goad of the British Association of Dermatologists said: “While basal cell carcinoma is very common, fortunately it is also very treatable.
“These cancers can occur on any part of the body, but are most common on areas of skin that are most often exposed to the sun such as your head and neck, including lips and ears, and the backs of your hands.

“They tend to appear gradually on the skin and slowly get bigger over time. They can vary greatly in their appearance, but people often first become aware of them as a scab that bleeds occasionally and does not heal completely. Some are very superficial and look like a scaly red flat mark, others have a pearl-like rim surrounding a central crater. Others are quite lumpy, with one or more shiny nodules crossed by small but easily seen blood vessels. Most are painless, although sometimes they can be itchy or bleed if caught on clothes or picked up.

“If your doctor thinks you have a skin cancer or is not sure, they can refer you for free through the NHS to see a skin cancer specialist, usually a Consultant Dermatologist, who is an expert in diagnosing and treating skin cancer.”

Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common cancer found in humans. The incidence of BCC in the UK is not accurately known because recording of the disease is incomplete. However a recent study estimated that approximately 760,000 cases of non-melanoma skin cancer are diagnosed annually in the UK population. BCC is likely to account for approximately 75 per cent of these.

Notes to editors:


1. For more information and interview requests, please contact: Nina Goad or Deborah Mason, British Association of Dermatologists, Phone: 0207 391 6355, Email: comms@bad.org.uk, Website: www.bad.org.uk

2. If using this information, please ensure you mention that the study is being released in the British Journal of Dermatology, the official publication of the British Association of Dermatologists.

3. Study details: British Journal of Dermatology: Regional variations of Basal cell carcinoma incidence in the
UK using THIN database (2004-2010). A. Musah1, J.E. Gibson1, J. Leonardi-Bee1, M.R. Cave2, E.L. Ander2, F. Bath-Hextall3
1Division of Epidemiology and Public Health, Clinical Sciences Building (Phase 2),
University of Nottingham, Nottingham NG5 1PB, UK
2British Geological Survey, Environmental Science Centre, Nottingham NG12 5GG, UK
3Centre of Evidence Based Dermatology, King’s Meadow Campus, University of Nottingham, Nottingham NG7 2NR, UK

Print publication date TBC; Draft, unedited version due to appear in Accepted Articles section online 24.05.13.
DOI 10.1111/bjd.12446. The article in the BJD can be viewed online: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/bjd.12446/abstract

The British Association of Dermatologists is the central association of practising UK dermatologists. Our aim is to continually improve the treatment and understanding of skin disease. For further information about the charity, visit www.bad.org.uk . Wiley-Blackwell, created in February 2007 by merging Blackwell Publishing with Wiley's Global Scientific, Technical, and Medical business, is now one of the world's foremost academic and professional publishers and the largest society publisher. With a combined list of more than 1,400 scholarly peer-reviewed journals and an extensive collection of books with global appeal, this new business sets the standard for publishing in the life and physical sciences, medicine and allied health, engineering, humanities and social sciences. For more information visit www.wiley.com 

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Wales is UK nation with the highest rates of most common cancer, study reveals

Wales has the highest rates of the UK’s most common cancer, according to research due to be published in the British Journal of Dermatology.

The study, carried out by researchers at the University of Nottingham and the British Geological Survey’s Environmental Science Centre in Nottingham, looked at diagnoses of basal cell carcinoma (BCC) across the UK over a six-year period (2004 to 2010). BCC is a type of non-melanoma skin cancer and the primary cause is exposure to ultraviolet light through sunlight or tanning beds.

Wales was found to have the highest level of the disease in the UK, followed by England. Scotland and Northern Ireland had lower, and similar, rates.

The study also found that, despite it being the UK’s most common cancer, BCC is still on the rise, with an increase of 2.6 per cent every year. While an ageing population may contribute to the overall rise, worryingly, the largest average increase was found in the 30 to 39 year age group, followed by those aged 40 to 49.

The researchers further discovered that people living in the least deprived areas were 50 per cent more likely to have a BCC than those with the highest levels of deprivation.

Fiona Bath-Hextall of the University of Nottingham’s Centre of Evidence Based Dermatology and one of the study’s authors said: “Our results indicate that the incidence rate of BCC is increasing, in particular amongst those aged 30 to 49 years. The study shows that Wales has the highest recorded rates of BCC.

“This may be linked to several environmental factors. The most prominent is the latitudinal position - in the UK, the hours of sunshine are normally longer in the south than the northern regions, especially during the summer season. The southern parts of England and Wales usually receive the greatest hours of annual sunshine.”

For socioeconomic deprivation, incidence of BCC was consistently higher in the most affluent groups. This may be linked to higher levels of income for frequent holidays overseas to sunnier places, thereby exposing the skin to sunlight, or having available funds for pursuing other lifestyle habits which are risk factors for BCC.

Nina Goad of the British Association of Dermatologists said: “While basal cell carcinoma is very common, fortunately it is also very treatable. 
“These cancers can occur on any part of the body, but are most common on areas of skin that are most often exposed to the sun such as your head and neck, including lips and ears, and the backs of your hands.

“They tend to appear gradually on the skin and slowly get bigger over time. They can vary greatly in their appearance, but people often first become aware of them as a scab that bleeds occasionally and does not heal completely. Some are very superficial and look like a scaly red flat mark, others have a pearl-like rim surrounding a central crater. Others are quite lumpy, with one or more shiny nodules crossed by small but easily seen blood vessels. Most are painless, although sometimes they can be itchy or bleed if caught on clothes or picked up.

“If your doctor thinks you have a skin cancer or is not sure, they can refer you for free through the NHS to see a skin cancer specialist, usually a Consultant Dermatologist, who is an expert in diagnosing and treating skin cancer.”

Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common cancer found in humans. The incidence of BCC in the UK is not accurately known because recording of the disease is incomplete. However, a recent study estimated that approximately 760,000 cases of non-melanoma skin cancer are diagnosed annually in the UK population. BCC is likely to account for approximately 75 per cent of these.

Notes to editors:
 

1. For more information and interview requests, please contact: Nina Goad or Deborah Mason, British Association of Dermatologists, Phone: 0207 391 6355, Email: comms@bad.org.uk, Website: www.bad.org.uk

2. If using this information, please ensure you mention that the study is being released in the British Journal of Dermatology, the official publication of the British Association of Dermatologists.

3. Study details: British Journal of Dermatology: Regional variations of Basal cell carcinoma incidence in the
UK using THIN database (2004-2010). A. Musah1, J.E. Gibson1, J. Leonardi-Bee1, M.R. Cave2, E.L. Ander2, F. Bath-Hextall3
1Division of Epidemiology and Public Health, Clinical Sciences Building (Phase 2),
University of Nottingham, Nottingham NG5 1PB, UK
2British Geological Survey, Environmental Science Centre, Nottingham NG12 5GG, UK
3Centre of Evidence Based Dermatology, King’s Meadow Campus, University of Nottingham, Nottingham NG7 2NR, UK

Print publication date TBC; Draft, unedited version due to appear in Accepted Articles section online 24.05.13. 
DOI 10.1111/bjd.12446. The article in the BJD can be viewed online: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/bjd.12446/abstract

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Response to University of Edinburgh study on UV and blood pressure

Nina Goad of the British Association of Dermatologists: “While this is interesting, these preliminary data on just 24 healthy volunteers with one hour's observation could be explained by many factors and variables not related to the sun. The findings do not confirm sustained blood pressure reduction in the general population. Research in this area is still very much in its infancy. Emerging evidence about possible health benefits of sunlight do not invalidate the indisputable weight of evidence showing the link between excess UV exposure and skin cancer, which is the UK's most common form of cancer. It's also worth noting that there are many other ways of achieving sustained reductions in blood pressure with evidence-based interventions that do not involve the risks associated with getting too much sun."

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New therapy for hair loss – British Journal of Dermatology

Injections using a person’s own blood could hold the key to treatment of a common form of hair loss, according to research published in the British Journal of Dermatology today.

The researchers, based at the International Hair Research Foundation and University of Brescia in Italy and the Hebrew University Medical Center in Israel, examined the role of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) in the treatment of alopecia areata, a common disorder causing hair loss.

PRP was compared to a placebo and to an existing steroid treatment for alopecia called triamcinolone acetonide (TrA).

45 patients received injections of either PRP, TrA or a placebo directly to bald patches on just one half of their head. Patches on the other side were injected with distilled water, to act as a control. A total of three treatments were given to each patient, once a month. Hair growth was assessed by measuring the area where new hairs grew on the bald scalp. Additionally, the researchers looked for specific defective hairs which are characteristic features of alopecia areata. Since alopecia patches are often accompanied by burning or itching, these symptoms were also examined.

Use of TrA and PRP led to a significant hair regrowth in bald patches compared to placebo, as assessed by three different independent dermatologists.

The findings could also hold hope for sufferers of alopecia resulting from chemotherapy. Researcher Dr Fabio Rinaldi said: “PRP has been shown to be a potent anti-inflammatory agent, and therefore could potentially have positive therapeutic effects on chemotherapy-induced alopecia.

“Our aim was to compare PRP to the most common therapy for alopecia areata, and indeed we could show that in several parameters, PRP was better than triamcinolone acetonide in treating alopecia areata.”

Alopecia areata is a common cause of hair loss that usually causes small, coin-sized, round patches of baldness on the scalp, although hair elsewhere such as the beard, eyebrows, eyelashes, body and limbs can be affected. It affects about two per cent of the population. It is not possible to predict how much hair will be lost. It happens when the hair is rejected by the affected person’s immune system, which does not recognise the hair roots (follicles) as the body’s own, but regards them as "foreign" (autoimmunity). Regrowth of hair in typical alopecia areata is usual over a period of months or sometimes years, but cannot be guaranteed. There is no known cure.

Nina Goad of the British Association of Dermatologists said: “Alopecia is known to lead to overwhelming effects on the patient's quality of life and self esteem. This could offer hope to thousands of patients who struggle with their hair loss.”

Platelet rich plasma (PRP) is made using the person’s own blood, by separating the blood’s plasma from the rest of the blood and adding a high concentration of platelets (in this case 3.5 times higher than normal blood).

Ends

Notes to editors:

1. For more information and interview requests, please contact: Nina Goad or Deborah Mason, British Association of Dermatologists, Phone: 0207 391 6355, Email: comms@bad.org.uk, Website: www.bad.org.uk

2. If using this information, please ensure you mention that the study is being released in the British Journal of Dermatology, the official publication of the British Association of Dermatologists.

3. Study details: British Journal of Dermatology: A randomized, double-blind, placebo and active-controlled, half-head study to evaluate the effects of platelet rich plasma on alopecia areata
A. Trink1, E. Sorbellini1, P. Bezzola1, L. Rodella2, R. Rezzani2, Y. Ramot3 F. Rinaldi1
1International Hair Research Foundation (IHRF), Milan, Italy
2University of Brescia, Brescia, Italy
3Department of Dermatology, Hadassah – Hebrew University Medical Center, Jerusalem, Israel
DOI: 10.1111/bjd.12397
Articles in the BJD can be viewed online: www.brjdermatol.org
The British Association of Dermatologists is the central association of practising UK dermatologists. Our aim is to continually improve the treatment and understanding of skin disease. For further information about the charity, visit www.bad.org.uk

Wiley-Blackwell, created in February 2007 by merging Blackwell Publishing with Wiley's Global Scientific, Technical, and Medical business, is now one of the world's foremost academic and professional publishers and the largest society publisher. With a combined list of more than 1,400 scholarly peer-reviewed journals and an extensive collection of books with global appeal, this new business sets the standard for publishing in the life and physical sciences, medicine and allied health, engineering, humanities and social sciences. For more information visit www.wiley.com

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Sun Awareness Week survey results revealed

Half of Britons think that their skin is darker than it actually is, putting them at risk of developing skin cancer, according to new research by the British Association of Dermatologists.

The statistics are being released to mark the start of Sun Awareness Week on Monday May 6th, and to launch the 2013 Be Sun Aware Mole and Sun Advice Roadshow supported by sun protection and skincare brand, La Roche-Posay.

1,350 people attending the organisation’s 2012 Mole and Sun Advice Roadshow were asked about skin cancer and sun safety.

Only 50 per cent of people correctly identified their own skin colour, which was then assessed by a Dermatologist, from a list of options, with 48 per cent thinking their skin was darker.

The survey also found that the desire for tanned skin is increasing, despite public health warnings against sunbathing. 62 per cent said that they found tanned skin more attractive than paler skin, compared to 56 per cent of people responding to a similar survey by the association five years ago.

The results revealed that younger people are less knowledgeable about some aspects of skin cancer than older generations, despite increased education on the disease in recent decades, which was not available to older generations, and on-going campaigns targeted at younger age groups. A third (32%) of people in their twenties perceived a tan to be a sign of good health compared with 21 per cent across all age groups.

Three times more men than women incorrectly believed that a base tan will protect against sun burn and sun damage (65 per cent of men compared to just 22 per cent of women). In fact, a base tan only provides very minimal protection and is actually a sign of ultraviolet (UV) damage.

80 per cent of people infrequently or never check their skin for signs of skin cancer, despite this being the UK’s most common cancer type. Furthermore, 69 per cent admitted they have no idea what to look for even if they were to check their skin.

However, not knowing the signs of skin cancer is not the only obstacle to early diagnosis. Only half of respondents (50%) are happy to show a skin issue to their doctor, with the remaining half citing embarrassment, lack of time, fear of wasting the doctor’s time, not liking going to the doctor and fear of skin cancer as possible barriers.

Twice as many women than men said they are afraid to waste the doctor’s time, and three times as many women are embarrassed to go to the doctor with a skin issue.
Despite persistent health warnings, sunbathing is still the most popular bronzing option with 54 per cent sunbathing abroad and 35 per cent sunbathing in the UK.

There was also a high level of confusion about what to look for in a sunscreen and the difference between a product’s UVA rating and Sun Protection Factor (SPF). Only 38 per cent of respondents knew that the SPF is what predominantly protects against sunburn, and only 39 per cent realised that it is a product’s UVA protection, rather than SPF, that prevents against skin ageing. A recent rise in moisturisers featuring SPF is believed to have led to this misconception, as people assume the added SPF properties will prevent wrinkling, when in fact it is UVA protection - often not included in these moisturisers - that performs this function.

Dr Bav Shergill of the British Association of Dermatologists said: “It is a concern that so many people think their skin is darker and tans more easily than is actually the case, as these people are likely to be spending longer in the sun than they should. I think this could be contributing to the increasing numbers of skin cancer cases I see in my clinics. We also need to address the misconception that a base tan is a good way of protecting against sunburn as this view is still very prevalent among men in particular.”

Managing Director of La Roche-Posay, Yannick Raynaud, said: “La Roche-Posay is delighted to be supporting the British Association of Dermatologists with their 2013 Be Sun Aware Mole & Sun Advice Roadshow. These statistics show that there is still a huge need to raise awareness about the need for sun protection and to educate the public about what to look for in a sunscreen and the difference between a products UVA rating and SPF. Our objective is to help raise awareness of the need for protection and decrease the risks associated with exposure. ”

181 of the 1,350 people attending the 2012 roadshow were advised to seek further advice from their doctor.

For more information, case studies and interview requests, please contact Kimberley Carter or Nina Goad, British Association of Dermatologists, Phone: 0207 391 6084 / 0207 391 6094, Email: comms@bad.org.uk, Website: www.bad.org.uk/sunawareness

Notes to editors:

1. Sun Awareness Week takes place from the 06th to 12th May. It is trademarked to the British Association of Dermatologists.

2. Survey data was collected during the 2012 British Association of Dermatologist Mole & Sun Advice Roadshow supported by La Roche-Posay between May and September 2012. 1,350 people completed surveys as part of the free mole-check demonstration they received from a BAD volunteer dermatologist.

3. The 2013 Be Sun Aware Mole & Sun Advice Roadshow (www.besunaware.com) aims to encourage people to pay more attention to their skin and learn what warning signs to look out for which might indicate a cancerous change, and how best to protect their skin in the sun. Visitors will be offered a free face-to-face practical demonstration by a dermatologist on how to check their skin.

The nationwide roadshow will kick off on 2nd May at Potters Field Park directly outside London’s City Hall, and then visit London’s famous Carnaby Street on the 3rd May, and a further three high profile festival events across the UK. Thousands of members of the public will be provided with free mole and sun-care advice from expert dermatologists and nurses, and complimentary sunscreen, in a bid to make people aware of skin cancer risks and how to enjoy the sun safely. The roadshow will be at the following locations:

1. The Big London Launch - 2nd May (Potters Fields Park) and 3rd May (Carnaby Street)
2. Isle of Wight Festival, Hampshire – 13th to 16th June 
3. Latitude Festival, Suffolk – 18th to 21st July
4. Boardmasters Festival of Music and Surfing, Cornwall – 7th to 11th August 

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