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New NHS figures have revealed that the number of skin cancer cases in Scotland have risen by over 30% during the past decade.

In 2013, there were 1,172 cases of melanoma, making it the sixth most common form of cancer.

The most common form of the disease is still lung cancer, which accounts for 17% of all cancer cases, closely followed by breast cancer and colorectal cancer.

The figures, from ISD Scotland show that over 31,000 people in Scotland were diagnosed with cancer in 2013. It was also found that the risk of skin cancer has significantly increased for men, with a 38% increase in the past ten years. This is compared to a 22% increase for women over the same period.

Scotland’s chief medical officer Dr Catherine Calderwood has encouraged people to take more care in the sun and avoid using sunbeds.

“The best way to cut your chances of getting melanoma is to reduce your exposure to the sun and avoid using sunbeds,” she said.

“The most common symptom of melanoma is a new mole or a change in the appearance of an existing mole.
“Melanomas are usually irregular in shape and contain more than one colour. They can be larger than usual moles and might itch or bleed.”

Gregor McNie, senior public affairs manager for Cancer Research UK, said: “These statistics reinforce the vital need for more research to better prevent, treat and cure all types of cancer.

“But there is good news. Cancer is no longer the death sentence it used to be. Cancer survival has doubled since the 1970s and Cancer Research UK’s work has been at the heart of that progress.”