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Deadly skin cancer on the rise in Sweden: study

TT/David Landes · 16 Nov 2009, 07:38

Published: 16 Nov 2009 07:38 GMT+01:00

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The jump in melanoma cases comes despite warnings to take precautions when spending time in the sun and to seek treatment at the first sign of abnormal skin changes, according to study carried out by health officials in the Uppsala-Örebro region in central Sweden.

The results of the study are to be represented a national medical conference, the Upsala Nya Tidning newspaper reports.

Gunnar Wagenius, a head doctor at Uppsala University Hospital’s cancer clinic, is both disappointed and surprised that the number of advanced stage and hard to treat melanoma cases hasn’t decreased.

“We had expected that it would only be cases of light, easily-treated melanoma that increased,” he told the newspaper.

Between 1995 and 2007, there were 4,121 cases of melanoma reported in the seven county councils which make up the Uppsala-Örebro healthcare region.

From the start of the study period to the end, the number of cases reported annually increased from 284 to 430 per year, an increase of 51 percent.

Story continues below…

“It’s clear that advice to be careful in the sun to decrease the risk for skin cancer hasn’t yet had an effect on the occurrence of melanoma,” said Wagenius.

TT/David Landes (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

08:50 November 16, 2009 by La Figaro
Too much tanning, tanning beds, global warming, summer holidays or .......

I thought it was high only in Australia
09:16 November 16, 2009 by Tennin
The swedes I know sunbathe and tan at the salon like their life depends on it. They stay dark all year long. If they ever use sunscreen it's only a level of about SPF 5 or 7. They look at me like I'm insane when I use my sunscreen SPF 45 everyday during the summer.
09:21 November 16, 2009 by Che-che
I'm not surprised. I'm the only person in my group of Swedish friends who uses sunscreen, I'm usually laughed at for it since I have relatively dark skin. The reason for not wearing sunscreen for them is usually, "there's only a few months of sun". It's quite sad. The girls in my group are the same age as me and look at least 5-6 years older (I'm in an age group where that says a lot), I truly believe it's sun damage. Well, I suppose there must be an advertising campaign coming up to tell everyone what to do...
09:25 November 16, 2009 by square
Can't be from sunbaking outside as you actually need sunshine and warm weather for that. Obviously the sunbeds as even in the middle of winter most Scandinavian women look like glow sticks.
10:29 November 16, 2009 by jones2
One thing that makes me cross is that there's very little recognition of the dangers among Swedes. Even my gym has a sunbed, something that I think should not be allowed, as it appears to associate tanning with a fit and healthy lifestyle.

I'm not usually in favour of banning things, but given all the restrictions placed on cigarettes, I think banning sunbeds from gyms is the least that should be done to send a message about skin cancer.
11:17 November 16, 2009 by karex
One thing that caught my attention:

"...the number of advanced stage and hard to treat melanoma cases hasn't decreased..."

The operative word here being "advanced stage". It becomes advanced when not caught in time. This in my opinion is also due to the health care system and the way it is set up here. It is based on corrective action as opposed to preventive measures.

Pre-emptive screening is expensive so not done. I have a friend who was feeling unwell and went to the Dr. several times. Almost no exams were run to try to determine the cause (kostar pegnar?). He then went to another country and straight away was sent to do a number of exams which showed his "pipes were clogged", among other things and he needed URGENT immeadiate bypass surgery...
11:30 November 16, 2009 by peropaco
I agree with Karex. The health care system is set up in a way which makes it impossible to see a specialist. It could take up to 8 months to see a skin doctor. I think someone told me there are only but a handful of them.
11:45 November 16, 2009 by Steggles
There is never any shortage of shade in Sweden during summer!
13:14 November 16, 2009 by Tennin
Che che, I know exactly what you mean. People I've met here so far say things like, "I don't know anyone who had skin cancer, so it's okay." Or say "you won't get tan if you use sun screen so we don't use it."

I come from California and I've known many people who had skin cancer, and they didn't sunbathe half as much as the swedes. I really hope the country does something to better educate the people about the dangers of excessive sun exposure and skin cancer.
20:46 November 16, 2009 by Gretchen
Have you ever tried to have your beauty spots examined in Sweden?

When you ask for a referral the first think they will ask at the VC: Do you have skin cancer in the family? NO I DON'T - BUT I do not want to be the first!

I could not get a referral, even though I asked several times.

In Germany we are all supposed to go to the skin specialized once a year for a check up. It costs you 10 EUROs and that's it!

Who ever told me that the Swedish medical system is so great? It is not.
21:04 November 16, 2009 by laura ka baal
Nothing to worry since doctor will be giving one medicine for skin cancer and that is Mr Alvedon .
21:44 November 16, 2009 by peropaco
Laura, I am happy to not be the only one to notice that the medicine of choice in Sweden is Alvedon. It is the magic pill. It works for headache, ingrown toenails, fever, pre & post surgery, abortion, flatulence, psychopathy, bipolar disorder. etc
22:24 November 16, 2009 by dizzymoe33
I use spf 80 all summer long and I am fair skinned and blue eyed and I tan just fine. People who think you don't tan using sunscreen you are wrong it just takes longer for a tan to show. You can even get skin cancer on your lips that is why I use a lip balm with spf 45 in all year round. You can still get skin cancer in the winter when your skin is exposed it makes no difference whether it is summer or winter you are just less likely to be outside with little clothes on in the winter time. Even in the summer on an overcast day you can get a sun burn if you are not carefull. Use sunscreen people no body wants to look like a tanned piece of leather by the age of 50.
13:00 November 17, 2009 by Rebel
Lack of sun linked to depression:


Research shows depression lowers testosterone levels in men and women. Lower testosterone leads to less immune health, weight gain and less ability of the body to repair itself. Lack of sunlight is also associated with osteoprosis as well as lower vitamine D being produced. Low vitamine D hampers the body's ability to utilyze calcium, which then leads to increased risk of colon, prostate and breast cancer.
14:56 November 20, 2009 by lantis
I was at the pharmacy (government run) recently, when a customer asked for advice for sunscreen to bring along on a vacation to someplace sunny. The pharmacist gave him SPF 15. I was horrified.

SPF 15 is what I use every day, all year long, assuming that I'll be indoors except for walking to and from my car. This guy should have been given the highest SPF they had (which was only about 40) with instructions to be generous in applying and reapplying it. I'm disgusted that they even sell less than SPF 15, and lip balm with no SPF at all, because that just gives a false sense of protection.
19:45 November 22, 2009 by aneleH
Melanoma? Fight Club!
13:33 April 17, 2010 by Ramachandran
I wish to send my PhD. thesis which talks about Supportive therapy to cure cancer. It is scientifically analyzed and justified my approch.

It is in PDF form and I wish to upload 6 Chapters.

Please advice how to up load the file in this forum or shall I send that by email to the editor, who will in turn publish it here.

This is only exchange of my views and if some european scientists come forward I will be happy

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