The sun is good for morale but don’t forget to protect yourself from UV rays: 46,000 skin cancers diagnosed per year in Belgium

This Sunday, it will be warm and sunny with maximum temperatures close to 30 degrees.

The temptation will undoubtedly be very great to make the most of the sun. But don’t forget to protect your skin. It’s primordial.

Under the slogan “It’s not your age that counts, but your UV counter”, the European network of dermatologists Euromelanoma, recalls this on the occasion of its 24th skin cancer prevention campaign. On this occasion, the organization recalls that nearly 46,000 people in Belgium are diagnosed with skin cancer each year. In 2000, this number was 11,000 according to figures from the Cancer Registry Foundation.

Most common in Belgium


With a proportion of 40% of all cancers diagnosed, skin cancer is thus the most common form of cancer in the country. It is also the one that shows the fastest progression, with an increase of 400% in 20 years.

“No other cancer has grown so rapidly. The risk of developing skin cancer before the age of 75 is one in five and continues to increase,” explains the dermatologist and president of Euromelanoma Belgium, the doctor. Thomas Masselis. Mortality, meanwhile, only increased by 50% over the same period. Since UV exposure is the biggest risk factor for skin cancer, this is what Euromelanoma is focusing on for its prevention campaign: “If you’ve been exposed to UV all your life – whether at the beach, in your garden, on a golf course, on a sunbed or at work – you have a higher risk of developing skin cancer. »

The organization also encourages people to regularly self-examine and report suspicious stains. The three most common skin tumors are basal cell carcinoma – which has sores that do not heal and/or red patches on the chest that grow, and which occurs mainly in older people –, squamous cell carcinoma – identifiable by its tumors crusted red spots that can metastasize – and melanoma, which is less common but more dangerous because it metastasizes quickly. “If more than two people in your family develop melanoma, extra care should be taken, as this greatly increases the risk that you too will develop one,” adds Thomas Maselis. “We’re noticing that more and more melanoma patients are seeing a doctor at an early stage, which means people are paying more attention to it. »

In parallel with its campaign, the organization reveals that for the first time, a study carried out on 400,000 Europeans has revealed the prevalence of actinic keratoses, a very common skin disease characterized by rough patches and precancerous lesions of the skin. One in 12 Europeans would be affected. “Actinic keratosis is quite easily treatable when detected in time, so it is essential that people get an idea of ​​their personal risk profile,” warns Euromelanoma.

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