The sun has got his hat on – have you? Skin cancer on rise in the Netherlands

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The sun has got his hat on, but have you? The number of people with aggressive skin cancer has continued to rise, reports the Netherlands Comprehensive Cancer Organisation IKNL on Friday. On Saturday, it will hold the fifth national skin cancer day to offer free checks and bring together patient associations, doctors and other experts. The organisation reports that in the last 15 years, the numbers of Dutch people with melanoma, an aggressive skin cancer, has risen dramatically from 1554 in 1990 to 5887 in 2015. One in five Dutch people is expected to get some form of skin cancer, making it one of the most common forms of cancer in the Netherlands. Most diagnosed cases are curable, and in 2014 there were 53,000 skin cancer patients recently registered – as many as all new breast, colon, lung and prostate cancer together. But, the organisation warns, specialists fear this is the ‘tip of the iceberg’, due to a change in behaviour. Chronic sun exposure due to outdoor work has decreased, but short, intense doses have increased with modern holidays, sunbathing and the use of tanning beds. Tomorrow, people who have enrolled in advance – registration is now closed due to demand – can have a free skin cancer check and find out about reducing the risks. Last year’s checks discovered 250 visitors with a form of skin cancer, 50 probably a melanoma.

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