According to a new research conducted by the Mayo Clinic, the incidence of two of the most common forms of non melanoma have risen significantly in the under 40s category in recent years.
The study finding, which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, highlights the fact that in 2000 the incidence of basal cell carcinoma and squamos cell carcinoma rose to over a 1 million cases - a figure that has risen rapidly in the course of the last 30 years and one many researchers blame on the depletion of the ozone, unprotected exposure to sun and use of sunbeds.
Predominantly incidences of the cancers have centered on the over 50s group, an age at which the disease usually begins to manifest itself. The reason for this is that non melonoma is usual slow to grow. Although the majority of damage tends to be done earlier on in life, it is slow to develop and physical signs of the cancer do not usually appear until later on in life.
However, with a growing number of younger and younger patients succumbing to non melanoma, the Mayo study chose a group of patients under 40 in an attempt to try and calculate how much it was rising by.
The study found that between 1976 and 1979 the incidence of basal cell carcinoma rose from 18.2 per 100,000 patients to 29.1. The rarer squamos cell carcinoma rose from 0.9 incidences per 100,00 to 4.1 during the same period.
The report highlighted that women in their late 30s were the highest risk group. Women are generally more susceptible to skin cancer because their skin is thinner, making it vulnerable to sun-induced damage. Further to this some 35 per cent of those diagnosed with the cancers were said to be former or current tobacco users.
Although the study authors did point out that the increased incidence of non melanoma cancers had been partly due to better surveillance of the disease, it did say that long term exposure to sun resulting in photodamage was the biggest risk factor for non melanoma skin cancer.
The findings point to the growing importance of sun screen for individuals who spend time in the sun. Although awareness of the need for protection has grown significantly, experts still say that sun screen use should, under no cirmcumstances, be forgotten.
Generally skin specialists recommend that a minimum protection of SPF 15 should be used, but that for very sensitive and young skins, even higher protection should be used.
In response to the quest for a healthy tan, many sun care providers have been cashing in on self-bronzing formulations, which are growing increasingly popular among many individuals who are looking for the bronzed look without the risk associated with excessive sun exposure.
The call for more innovative products has also led to many regular cosmetics, including moisturizers and foundations, using SPFs as part of their formulation. This, combined with increasingly comprehensive sun screen formulations, means that the sun care category has continued to witness some of the biggest growth rates in the industry in recent years.
In 2004, the global market for sun care products reach $4.775 billion, an increase of 11 per cent on the figure for 2004, Euromonitor says. According to the market research group growth has been driven by consumers increased awareness of both the cancer risk and the ageing effects of unprotected sun exposure, which has equally led to increasingly sophisticated formulations and marketing campaigns.