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More and more Swedes with skin cancer - attitudes need to change

Ben Kendall 2012-03-21

Swedes love the sun and a good tan. But this fascination results in more deaths each year than traffic accidents, according to a new report from the cancer fund.

"It is easy to understand that people love the sun, but it's really harmful, says Eva Johansson, dermatologist at Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg to Göteborgs-Posten.

Since the 1990s cases of both malignant melanomas and other forms of skin cancer among Swedes have risen sharply. Each year around 40,000 Swedes are affected by some form of skin cancer of which over 500 cases, mostly involving malignant melanomas, are fatal.

West Swedes are among the worst affected with one of the highest incident rates nationwide; 66-77 cases of malignant melanomas per 100,000 people.

"The most important thing is to protect children properly and make sure that you never burn. Hat, clothes and half-shade - everything that gives protection is good," says Eva Johansson to Göteborgs-Posten.

It's clear that the attitude of Swedes towards the sun has to change. But improvements are also required on the diagnosis side of things, according to the report:

"It must be easier to get suspicious lesions examined by a specialist. The efficiency of the treatment chains is one of the most important measures to reduce mortality from skin cancer."

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