Tuesday, 3 January 2012

County Skin Cancer Rates Higher Than Average MP Told

MP Julian Huppert learns about the
worrying rise in skin cancer cases across the
Skin cancer rates in Cambridgeshire are higher than the national average but fewer people are dying from the disease.

The figures were revealed to Cambridge MP, Julian Huppert in a new report launched in Westminster.

According to the report, Skin Cancer Revealed, in 2009-10, Cambridgeshire Primary Care Trust spent £1.86 per head of population on treating skin cancer patients compared to the national average of £2.25 a head.

Incidences of malignant melanoma - the rarest and most serious form of skin cancer - per 100,000 people were just over 19 compared with a national average of 15; yet the death rate for the county was very slightly below average.

The report also revealed that the number of people diagnosed with skin cancer nationally had almost quadrupled over the last 30 years and is expected to grow by a further 52 per cent over the next 20 years.

Julian met with the report’s authors, Skin Cancer UK, to find out why more than five people died every day across the UK from malignant melanoma.

For the first time in the last 30 years, new treatments have emerged for melanoma patients which offer new hope.

Skin Cancer UK is calling on the Government and the NHS to ensure that there is sufficient capacity, skills and resource available to ensure that patients feel the benefit of these long-awaited advances in care.

Julian said “We are fortunate in Cambridgeshire to have some of the best health care in the country; but clearly this is one area which needs urgent attention.

“It is worrying to see that cases of skin cancer nationally are expected to rise at such a rate over the coming years and this is going to prove extremely challenging to our health services.”

Lib Dem Shadow Cabinet Member for Health, Caroline Shepherd said: “This is an urgent health issue which needs to be tackled swiftly and efficiently.

“I hope that the new Health and Wellbeing Board will not get caught up with procedural administration but rise to the challenge and engage effectively with NHS partners to deliver the best treatment for skin cancer patients.”