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New studies reveal impact of most common diseases on work, relationships and even decision to have children

New research into a range of common skin diseases affecting hundreds of thousands of Britons will this week reveal the true impact of the conditions on the lives of patients.

A series of studies, to be presented at the British Association of Dermatologists’ conference in Manchester, will show the influence that diseases such as acne, eczema and psoriasis, can have on people’s relationships, work and everyday lives.

In total, nine out of ten (90 per cent) patients with a chronic skin condition said it had influenced a major life-changing decision – with one in five (22 per cent) saying that their disease had even influenced their decision on whether or not to have children.
One study* found:

• Almost half (46 per cent) said their skin disease had a bearing on their choice of clothing they wore.

• One in five said it influenced whether they wore make-up (22 per cent).

• The same proportion said that their condition prevented them from socializing and a third (34 per cent) had stopped swimming.

• Two thirds (66 per cent) said their skin disease had influenced a major life-changing decision relating to their career, while decisions relating to education (44 per cent) were also affected.

• One in five (20 per cent) said their disease had a bearing on whether they took early retirement.

Another study(1) found that skin conditions are the most frequent reason for people to consult their GP with a new problem, more so than respiratory problems, musculoskeletal disorders and mental illness.

A third study(2), relating just to psoriasis, found that:
• Two thirds of patients with severe symptoms said the disease has had a negative impact on their working life.

• Four out of ten (42 per cent) said the disease had limited their income, or restricted their future employment or career choice.

• A third of such patients (32 per cent) reported discrimination in the workplace on the basis of their condition, while one in five (19 per cent) said that their disease had contributed to them resigning or being dismissed from a job.

• More than a third (37 per cent) felt that, owing to their disease, they have not performed as well in education as they could have done.

• Nine out of ten (87 per cent) felt that their mood, mental health and general enjoyment of life suffers, with three-quarters (73 per cent) saying they have reduced drive and 69 per cent saying they have reduced aspirations because they have psoriasis.

• Psoriasis was also found to influence patients’ personal relationships, with 67 per cent saying that their disease has prevented them pursuing intimate relationships. Three out of ten (29 per cent) have ended an intimate relationship because of their condition.

• Most patients (87 per cent) believed there to be a lack of understanding about psoriasis among the public.

Chief Executive of The Psoriasis Association, Helen McAteer said: “This is the largest UK web-based survey to assess quality of life issues in psoriasis. Our findings illustrate that severe psoriasis has a significant and long-lasting impact on people’s lives in the UK – far greater than was previously appreciated.”

Nina Goad of the British Association of Dermatologists said: “I work with skin disease patients on a daily basis so I am aware of the profound effect that symptoms can have on people’s lives, but despite this I was still stopped in my tracks by some of the findings of this research.

“The fact that such a high number of people cite having a skin disease as a major consideration in the decision of whether to have children, or say that it has brought about the end of a relationship or caused them to stop socializing, is just so sad.

“Add to this the statistics about job losses and discrimination in the workplace, and a clear picture begins to emerge of what so many people in the UK are having to endure. Of course not all patients will be influenced to this degree, but it is worrying that so many are. And we are not talking about one rare disease here, which would be bad enough. Skin conditions are incredibly common.” 
-Ends-
Notes to editors:

1. Background statistics – prevalence of skin disease

• 24% of a GP’s case load is for skin conditions1
• 26% of people report having suffered from a skin rash/allergies/irritated skin, 13% from eczema and 12% from acne/spots, over the preceding 12 months. (‘A Picture of Health’; PAGB / Reader’s Digest 2005, http://www.pagb.co.uk/information/PDFs/Pictureofhealth.pdf)
• Acne affects 80 to 90% of adolescents in the UK, and for 30% of these, their acne will be severe enough to warrant medical attention. 14% of women in the UK aged between 26 and 44 suffer from facial acne.
• Psoriasis is a common skin problem affecting about 2% of the population. It occurs equally in men and women, at any age, and tends to come and go unpredictably. It is not infectious, and does not scar the skin.
• Eczema (atopic eczema) affects at least 1 in 6 school children and about 1 in 20 adults. (Patient UK - http://www.patient.co.uk/health/Atopic-Eczema.htm)
• For information on other skin diseases visit www.bad.org.uk

2. Study details

*Patients with the following diseases were interviewed: psoriasis, eczema, acne, hidradenitis suppurativa, ichthyosis, palmoplantar genodermatosis, alopecia areata, Dariers disease. The influence of chronic skin diseases on major life-changing decisions as a parameter for the assessment of long-term impact.
Z.U. Bhatti, S. Salek* and A.Y. Finlay
Department of Dermatology, School of Medicine, Cardiff University, Cardiff, Wales, U.K. and *Centre for Socioeconomic Research, Welsh School of Pharmacy, Cardiff University, Cardiff, Wales, U.K.

(1)Updated Dermatology Health Care Needs Assessment: Skin conditions are the commonest new reason people present to general practitioners in England and Wales: implications for education and training.
J. Schofield, D. Fleming,* D. Grindlay† and H. Williams†
United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust, Lincoln, U.K.; *Royal College of General Practitioners Research and Surveillance Unit, Birmingham, U.K. and †Centre of Evidence Based Dermatology, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, U.K.

(2)Survey of 1760 UK adults. 52% defined their disease severity as ‘very active’ or ‘extremely active’ and for the purpose of this study are therefore defined as having severe psoriasis. Severe psoriasis has a greater negative effect on quality of life than previously appreciated: a U.K. web-based patient survey.
A.V. Anstey, G. Edwards* and A. Lass† [m/f]
Aneurin Bevan Health Board, Gwent, U.K.; *Psoriasis Association, London, U.K. and †Abbott UK, Maidenhead, U.K.

Further information and contacts:

If using this research, please mention that the study was released at the British Association of Dermatologists’ Annual Conference.
The conference will be held at Manchester Central conference centre, from July 6th to 8th 2010, and is attended by UK and worldwide dermatologists and dermatology nurses. Case studies and interviews with the researchers available on request. 

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Image-obsessed UK fears weight gain more than potentially life-threatening skin changes

Research released today by the UK’s skincare expert, the British Association of Dermatologists (BAD), reveals that when it comes to thinking about their bodies, Brits are six times more likely to worry the most about putting on weight (42%) than changes to their skin (7%). The research also found that 69% of us don’t regularly check for moles, patches, or other signs of skin cancer, and that 57% of us don’t even know what to look for to detect it.

The research marks the launch of Ultimate Skincare – the UK’s first ever dedicated early detection skin cancer campaign – and is a response to a significant increase in skin cancer in the UK, where somebody is diagnosed every five minutes and one person dies every four hours (NOS 2008 Mortality Rates). Although skin cancer is on the rise, the average five-year survival rate has been estimated at 99% if melanoma (the most deadly, but least common, type of skin cancer) is detected at an early and treatable stage (NHS, 2009), which is why BAD is urging people to pay more attention to their skin.

The research found that:
• Ignorance about skin changes is most serious among 18-24 year olds, who put weight gain (48%), spots (14%), white teeth (8%), unwanted body hair (5%) and wrinkles (3%) higher up their priority lists than changes to their skin. Less than 1% of respondents listed this as the biggest thing about their appearance they worry about. This group is also the least likely to check their skin (only 17% said they check their skin regularly) and less than half (47%) said they would seek medical help if they did notice a change.
• Men are worse at checking their skin than women – only 22% of men regularly check their skin (compared to 35% of women); only 30% know what to look for as a sign of cancer (compared to 50% of women) and only 54% would seek help on noticing a change (compared to 73% of women). This is reflected in survival rates, which are lower for men than for women. In the last ten years, deaths from melanoma in men have increased by a third (NOS 2008 Mortality Rates).
• The UK public has no idea how serious skin cancer can be. The majority of respondents seriously underestimated how many people die from the disease (46%) or simply said they had no idea (41%). Only 5% were aware that six people die every day.

Early detection of skin cancer can drastically increase survival rates, meaning that the cancer is less likely to reoccur and often involves treatment that is far less invasive than if the cancer is spotted later. The Ultimate Skincare campaign aims to make people aware of this, to encourage them to check themselves and their loved ones and to seek medical advice from their GP if they do notice a difference, like a changing mole or a scab that refuses to heal.

Speaking in support of BAD’s new campaign, television presenter Sarah Cawood of National Lottery and The Wright Stuff fame, said:
“Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the UK and cases are on the rise, which is why the British Association of Dermatologists has launched the Ultimate Skincare campaign to promote early detection. We want people to check their skin and the skin of the people they love. If you do find a change or see something strange, get it checked out by your GP. This won’t be costly or complicated – your GP will be able to check your skin and refer you to a dermatologist if necessary.”

President of the British Association of Dermatologists Dr Mark Goodfield said:
“Diagnosing a skin cancer early significantly impacts on how successfully it can be treated. People should be checking their skin every month or so – if you already do testicular or breast self examinations, why not check your skin at the same time? Use a mirror and get a friend or partner to look at your back, neck, scalp and ears as it can be hard to check these areas yourself. If you notice any changes to your skin, such as a changing mole or a wound that won’t heal, get yourself to your GP.”

As part of BAD’s early detection campaign, the British Association of Dermatologists has created the ABCDE guide to checking skin, to detect the signs of melanoma – the deadliest type of skin cancer. Look out for:

Asymmetry – the two halves of the area may differ in shape
Border – the edges of the area may be irregular or blurred, and sometimes show notches
Colour – this may be uneven. Different shades of black, brown and pink may be seen
Diameter – most melanomas are at least 6mm in diameter. Report any change in size, shape or diameter to your doctor
Expert – if in doubt, check it out! If your GP is concerned about your skin, make sure you see a Consultant Dermatologist, the most expert person to diagnose a skin cancer. Your GP can refer you via the NHS.

For more information about the early detection of skin cancer, please visit: www.ultimateskincare.org

ENDS
Contacts: For further information please contact Faith Riding on faith.riding@kindredagency.com / 020 7 612 8865/07867 505551 or Katie Peden on katie.peden@kindredagency.com / 020 7612 8835 / 0786 750 5575

Notes to editors
• Research was carried out online by YouGov between 4th - 7th June 2010 among a sample of 2,198 UK adults
• The British Association of Dermatologists is the central association of practising UK dermatologists. The association’s aim is to continually improve the treatment and understanding of skin disease. The association delivers public education on a number of skin diseases, including the annual Sun Awareness campaign to highlight the importance of early detection of skin cancer
• Skin cancer now accounts for half of all new cancers diagnosed in Western populations and is the UK’s most common cancer 

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Real secret to beautiful skin launches exclusively at House of Fraser pop-up shop

Research released today by the UK’s skincare expert, the British Association of Dermatologists (BAD), reveals that when it comes to thinking about their bodies, Brits are six times more likely to worry the most about putting on weight (42%) than changes to their skin (7%). The research also found that 69% of us don’t regularly check for moles, patches, or other signs of skin cancer, and that 57% of us don’t even know what to look for to detect it.

The research marks the launch of Ultimate Skincare – the UK’s first ever dedicated early detection skin cancer campaign – and is a response to a significant increase in skin cancer in the UK, where somebody is diagnosed every five minutes and one person dies every four hours (NOS 2008 Mortality Rates). Although skin cancer is on the rise, the average five-year survival rate has been estimated at 99% if melanoma (the most deadly, but least common, type of skin cancer) is detected at an early and treatable stage (NHS, 2009), which is why BAD is urging people to pay more attention to their skin.

The research found that:
• Ignorance about skin changes is most serious among 18-24 year olds, who put weight gain (48%), spots (14%), white teeth (8%), unwanted body hair (5%) and wrinkles (3%) higher up their priority lists than changes to their skin. Less than 1% of respondents listed this as the biggest thing about their appearance they worry about. This group is also the least likely to check their skin (only 17% said they check their skin regularly) and less than half (47%) said they would seek medical help if they did notice a change.
• Men are worse at checking their skin than women – only 22% of men regularly check their skin (compared to 35% of women); only 30% know what to look for as a sign of cancer (compared to 50% of women) and only 54% would seek help on noticing a change (compared to 73% of women). This is reflected in survival rates, which are lower for men than for women. In the last ten years, deaths from melanoma in men have increased by a third (NOS 2008 Mortality Rates).
• The UK public has no idea how serious skin cancer can be. The majority of respondents seriously underestimated how many people die from the disease (46%) or simply said they had no idea (41%). Only 5% were aware that six people die every day.

Early detection of skin cancer can drastically increase survival rates, meaning that the cancer is less likely to reoccur and often involves treatment that is far less invasive than if the cancer is spotted later. The Ultimate Skincare campaign aims to make people aware of this, to encourage them to check themselves and their loved ones and to seek medical advice from their GP if they do notice a difference, like a changing mole or a scab that refuses to heal.

TV personality, Sarah Cawood, and expert Dermatologist, Dr Nick Lowe, have just launched the UK’s first ever campaign dedicated to promoting the early detection of skin cancer at House of Fraser’s flagship Oxford Street store.
The campaign is being spearheaded by the British Association of Dermatologists (BAD) in response to a sharp increase in the number of cases of skin cancer being diagnosed in Britain, coupled with findings that people aren’t checking their skin and don’t know what signs to look for.

To capture people’s attention, BAD – the UK’s skincare expert – has developed Ultimate Skincare, a luxurious beauty product with a difference. What appears to be a pot of the latest, breakthrough skin cream is revealed, upon opening, to contain guidance on how to check your skin for changes, a link to a bespoke website (www.ultimateskincare.org) that hosts all the information people need to learn what to look for, and a mirror to enable them to easily check their skin regularly.

Every year, more than 100,000 new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in the UK and one Briton dies from the disease every four hours. However, the average five-year survival rate has been estimated at 99 per cent if melanoma is detected at an early and treatable stage (NHS, 2009).

Speaking in support of Ultimate Skincare, Sarah Cawood of National Lottery and The Wright Stuff fame, said: “Unfortunately people have tired of health campaigns and messaging, but they’re risking their lives by not regularly checking their skin for things like changes in colour and shape of moles or coloured patches. We want people to make checking their skin for changes part of their regular beauty regime, which is why we’ve adopted the language ad imagery of the beauty industry for this campaign to help engage with people. You can spend all the money you like on fancy lotions and potions but the real secret to beautiful skin is what we’re trying to raise awareness of through Ultimate Skincare. Skin cancer is becoming more and more common and early detection through self checking and raising anything of concern with your GP is the secret to beating it.”

Ultimate Skincare is available exclusively at House of Fraser, Oxford Street, until 16 June 2010 or at www.ultimateskincare.org. Channels including the House of Fraser pop-up store and press and TV adverts in a beauty industry style are being utilised to reach people with the Ultimate Skincare message in places and at times when they are seeking and receptive to information on skincare.  

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