Affluent Classes More Vulnerable to Skin Cancer

If you are wealthy, this piece is for you. A recent study has revealed that wealthier people are more than twice vulnerable to the deadliest form of skin cancer, than those financially lesser lucky.

The study conducted by Queen’s University Belfast and Royal Victoria Hospital on 23,000 cancer patients in Northern Ireland revealed that those lucky in terms of finances are unlucky when it comes to health. Those who live in affluent areas are two- and-a-half times more likely to develop malignant melanoma compared to the less well offs.

The study places middle classes in the greater risk category next to the higher classes. Rate of the risk of basal cell carcinoma, a more common but easily treatable type of skin cancer, caused by prolonged exposure to sunlight, was 41 per cent higher in middle-class males and 29% more likely in middle-class females than in working-class people of a similar age. The researchers put the blame on the middle classes taking more holidays in sunny places and being more likely to develop sun-damaged skin due to excessive exposure to the sun.

The disease is more common in women than men. Malignant melanoma affects more than 8,000 Britons a year and annually claims 1,800 lives.

Research now shows a clear link between wealth and the cancer. However, no link was developed between income and squamous cell carcinoma, another form of skin cancer, which became more common with age.

Dr Hoe, co-author of the study, published in the British Journal of Dermatology, believes that although some sections of society face greater risks than others, yet, the ’safe sun’ message to halt rising skin cancer rates is for all and not just for one community.

Researchers also lament the rising number of cancer patients every year and put the blame on youngsters who ignore advice on safe tanning.

Whereas, Rebecca Russell of Cancer Research UK, clarifies that the study clearly answers the number of rising cancer patients in Britain for their habit of holidaying abroad under the sun.

Earlier studies have linked wealth to breast cancer, which is more likely to attack middle class women.

However, as the study propagates safe sun measures, people at large whether rich or less rich should pay heed and try to lessen their exposure to the sun. Most careful must be the most vulnerable section.