Live updates

Professor: Drugs turn body against skin cancer tumour

Professor Peter Johnson, chief clinician at Cancer Research UK, said new drugs were offering "the beginning of a new era of cancer treatments using the immune system".

He said: "These drugs that can turn the body's own defences against a tumour are starting to show real promise for melanoma and other types of cancer.

Drugs turn the body's own defences against a tumour. Credit: Tobias Hase/DPA/Press Association Images

"It's only through research that we can gain the insights needed to develop new treatments for cancer patients."

The new cure contains two types of drug - ipilimumab (known as ipi) and anti-PD1s which break down the defences of cancer cells and are still in clinical trials.

New breakthrough drugs promise skin cancer 'cure'

Skin cancer sufferers could be cured of the disease with new breakthrough drugs, experts claimed, as they hailed the "beginning of a new era".

Sunbathers soak up the sun. Credit: Chris Radburn/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Seriously ill patients are said to have seen "spectacular effects" after receiving the medication which could eventually be used to combat other forms of the condition. It is the first time scientists have come this close to providing a remedy for advanced melanoma.


Men 'less likely' to be diagnosed with melanoma

Men are less likely to be diagnosed with melanoma than women and that is why more are dying from the disease, Professor Julia Newton-Bishop, Cancer Research UK dermatologist said.

Research has suggested the difference between the sexes could be in part because men are more likely to be diagnosed when melanoma is at a more advanced stage.

But there also seem to be strong biological reasons behind the differences and we're working on research to better understand why men and women's bodies deal with their melanomas in different ways.

We also know that men and women tend to develop melanoma in different places - more often on the back and chest for men and on the arms and legs for women.

– Professor Julia Newton-Bishop, Cancer Research UK dermatologist

Cancer Research: Melanoma affects both genders

According to Cancer Research UK there is no gender distinction in the numbers of those who develop melanoma, but more women are surviving skin cancer then men.

  • Men and women are both likely to get the disease, with 17.2 percent of every 100,000 men who develop the cancer, with 17.3 percent.
  • Death rates in men have increased by 185 percent since the 1970s, compared with 55 percent of women.
  • The data predicts death rates will continue to rise in men while remaining stable in women.

Men more likely to get skin cancer than women

Men are 70% more to die from skin cancer than women, says Canser Reseach Credit: PA

Men are 70 percent more likely to die from the most serious type of skin cancer, than women, according to new figures from Cancer Reseach UK.

This is despite a similar number of both genders being diagnosed with the disease every year in the UK.

Cancer Research UK data shows 3.4 men per 100,000 die from malignant melanoma compared with two per 100,000 women.

This means that of the 6,200 men who develop melanoma each year, 1,300 die from the disease, compared with 900 of the 6,600 women.


Brits still risking skin cancer, health experts warn

More than half of Brits want a suntan despite strong messages about the increased risk of skin cancer, health experts have warned.

62 per cent of Brits said that they found tanned skin more attractive than paler skin, compared to 56 per cent of people responding to a similar survey five years ago.

Daybreak's Richard Gaisford reports:

Symptoms of melanoma

The first sign of a melanoma is often the appearance of a new mole or a change in the appearance of an existing mole.

Normal moles are usually a single colour, round or oval in shape and not larger than 6mm (1/4 inch) in diameter.

Melanomas are more likely to have an irregular shape, be more than one colour, and are often larger than 6mm (1/4 inch) in diameter. A melanoma may also be itchy and may bleed.

A good way to tell the difference between a normal mole and a melanoma is to use the ABCDE checklist:

  • A stands for asymmetrical – melanomas have two very different halves and are an irregular shape.
  • B stands for border – unlike a normal mole, melanomas have a notched or ragged border.
  • C stands for colours – melanomas will be a mix of two or more colours.
  • D stands for diameter – unlike most moles, melanomas are larger than 6mm (1/4 inch) in diameter.
  • E stands for enlargement or evolution – a mole that changes characteristics and size over time is more likely to be a melanoma.

Melanomas can appear anywhere on your body, but the back, legs, arms and face are the most common locations. Sometimes, they may develop underneath a nail.


What is Melanoma?

  • Melanoma is a cancer that usually starts in the skin, either in a mole or in normal-looking skin. About half of all melanomas start in normal-looking skin.
  • The number of people developing melanoma is continuing to rise. More than 10,600 people in the UK are diagnosed with melanoma each year.
  • Melanoma is more common in women, particularly young women. In the UK it’s the most common cancer in people aged 15–34.
  • In women the most common place to develop melanoma is on the legs; in men it’s on the chest and the back.

Skin cancer statistics

  • In 2010, 12,818 people in the UK were diagnosed with malignant melanoma skin cancer.
  • In the same year there were 2,203 deaths from malignant melanoma skin cancer in the UK.
  • In 2005-2009, 88.2% of adult skin cancer patients (83.6% of men and 91.6% of women) in England survived their cancer for five years or more.
  • In 2010 around 100,000 people were diagnosed with non-melanoma skin cancer and there were 546 deaths from non melanoma skin cancer.
  • In 2010, there were 12,818 new cases of malignant melanoma in the UK.
  • 6,201 (48%) in men and 6,617 (52%) in women, giving a male: female ratio of around 10:11.1-4.
  • Malignant melanoma incidence rates have overall increased in Great Britain since the mid 1970s
Load more updates