Childhood holidays in the sun are causing health issues in our 60s 67



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Going on sun-filled holidays with our parents as children were some of our happiest memories. But could they have put us at a serious health risk?

When we were young, we would seldom use sunscreen, and as many of us know, we have had to pay the price later in life, with skin cancers being cut out of us.

According to new research, those in their 60s are seven times more likely to develop serious skin cancer today than they were in their 20s. The research comes from Cancer Research UK and also found that men are even more likely to be diagnosed with malignant melanoma than their parents – 10 times more likely.

Women in their 60s are five times more likely to have skin cancer than someone who was in their 60s in the mid-1970s. Alarmingly, two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the time they are 70, and Australia has one of the highest incidences of skin cancer in the world, two to three times the rates in Canada, the US and the UK, according to the Cancer Council.

Many of those who are being diagnosed every year were sunburnt in their youth, and the cheap holidays boom in the 1960s is said to be to blame.

In an interview with the Daily Mail, 69-year-old retiree Sue Deans from London said, “I was part of the generation where package holidays became affordable and you could go abroad nearly every year.

“I don’t think there was much understanding at the time about the impact that too much sun can have on your risk of getting skin cancer. And I loved the sun but suffered quite a bit of sunburn over the years.

“I had successful surgery and have been healthy since, but I’m always vigilant in keeping an eye out for anything unusual or persistent that might need to be checked.

“Now I make sure my grandson knows the dangers of getting caught out in the sun”, she said.

Tell us today, have you had skin cancer? What do you think caused it? Were you a cheap holiday kid or a beach baby? 

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. I have had BCC,s (Basal Cell Carcinomas) cut out from my forehead, legs and back. The one on my back was a bad one so I had Radiation Therapy. I guess the only thing for me is to be Vigilant with any spots I get. We did have lots of time in the sun when we were younger.

  2. We had a fussy mum. I was the only one to swim with a shirt on. I had to wear a hat all the time. Also not allowed out in the midday sun. This was to keep our skin white and unfreckled …..unwittingly her fetish has saved our skins.

  3. I have lost my upper lip on the right hand side, and had a large hole on the side of my nose covered by pulled down skin, due to BCC’s. In all I have had 7 of them removed from my upper body and face. I can recall my mother saying “get some sun on your body, you look good with a tan”. She also had to have BCC’s removed before she died.

    2 REPLY
    • I lost my upper lip on the left side a year ago. I am thinking of getting a new lip line tattooed. Have you done anything to restore yours?

  4. In ’93 I was almost killed by a Category 4 malignant melanoma. The surgeon who excised it saved my life. I now have a scar in the middle of my back which is 150 x 100 mm. I also consider myself to be ‘at risk’ of developing subsequent cancers, which I am looking out for.

    1 REPLY
    • I am so glad to know that you are writing in 2015 of this event from 1993 and that you are a survivor. My mum didn’t make it. She was diagnosed in 2008 with Grade 4 secondary spread from her primaries, believed, unusually, to be two primaries that were independent of each other, and never found. She died a hideous death from this awful disease in September 2011. I just want to say David, that I’m glad you made it.

  5. Touch wood my skin could take it, though I never “sun bathed” just went brown doing things in the sun. Hopefully I’m lucky…..

  6. My Dad died because of skin cancers that spread over the time he had half his eat removed and a lot of his lips

  7. Just had a melanoma removed from my arm. Luckily it was only on top of the skin and hadn’t progressed. Many summers spent on the Rosebud beach in the 60’s.

  8. I have had lots of bcc’s cut out but when I had an early stage melanoma on my arm I got an awful fright so I’m on 6 month checks now.
    As a child I spent wonderful weekends on moreton bay fishing as often as we could and I can’t ever recall sunscreen. I’m grateful I wasn’t a surfie chic, lots of friends coated themselves in coconut oil to brown up – fry more likely.

  9. Holidays at the beach were a nightmare for me as I got severe sunburn every year. My Mum tanned easily and didn’t appreciate the pain or the long term damage these holidays caused. No sunscreen then, but she would lather my face in “kintho”? to try and fade the freckles later. It didn’t work. Have had lots of bits cut off me and no doubt this will continue. We just didn’t know…..

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