Skin and liver cancer cases rising

New figures reveal a sharp rise in the number of skin and liver cancer diagnoses in England.

Data released from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) show a major increase in the number of men and women being diagnosed with liver and skin cancer between 2003 and 2012.

During that time, skin cancer cases rose by 78% in men and 48% in women, a rise ascribed to changes in clothing trends and an increase in sunbathing as over-exposure to the sun is the most common cause of the disease.

Liver cancer – usually caused by obesity, alcohol and Hep B and C – has seen a 70% rise in men and 60% for women, a change described as “unsurprising” by Andrew Langford, chief executive of the British Liver Trust.

“It is a very fine line people are treading at the moment,” said Langford. “Part of the problem is that people associate liver cancer with alcoholics. But we all know people who we would never describe as alcoholics but are heavy drinkers – and they are at risk.”

The study looked at the changes in diagnoses numbers for all cancer types, revealing that breast cancer was the most common cancer among women and prostate cancer the most commonly diagnosed cancer for men.

Figures also showed that while lung cancer cases fell by 8% in men during the time, they rose by 18% in women, coinciding with a drop in the number of men smoking but a rise in women taking up the habit.

In response to the figures, Mark Wickenden from Cancer Research UK warned that smoking caused “nearly a fifth of all cancers” and urged the government to do more “to stop the next generation taking up the deadly habit that kills half of all long-term users.”