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Skin Cancers And Cataracts

Volume 201: debated on Friday 20 December 1991

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimates he has made of the number of cases of (a) skin cancer broken down into melanoma and non-melanoma and (b) cataracts as a result of ozone depletion in the United Kingdom in (i) 1995, (ii) 2000, (iii) 2005 and (iv) 2010.

Any assessment of long-term health effects resulting from depletion of the ozone layer, with a concomitant increase in ground levels of ultraviolet radiation, would be influenced strongly by assumptions made about global future releases of various pollutants, particularly chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). The United Kingdom strongly supports the Montreal protocol on the phasing out or reduction in emissions of the most harmful of these pollutants. In addition, increased awareness of the dangers of excessive exposure to sunlight will influence public behaviour in relation to sunbathing habits. It is therefore not possible to predict with any confidence the incidence of skin cancer or cataracts in the future. However, trends in the incidence rates of these diseases will continue to be monitored.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many cases of melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers, squamous cell and basal cell, have been reported in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland for each of the years 1980 to 1990.

Registrations of cases of malignant melanoma of skin (ICD 1 172), and other malignant neoplasm of skin (ICD1173) for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland for each of the years 1980 to 1990, the latest year for which figures are available, are as follows.

Malignant melanoma of skin
YearEnglandWalesScotlandNorthern Ireland
Other malignant neoplasm of skin2
1 International Classification of Diseases code (ninth revision)
2 Registration of cancers from these sites are well known to be particularly difficult and liable to incompleteness.
It would not be possible to distinguish between squamous cell and basal cell carcinomas without disproportionate cost.It was recognised by the working party chaired by Professor Eva Alberman which reported last year on the national cancer registration scheme (Series MB1 No. 17) that better and more timely figures were required. Many of the working party's 17 recommendations are currently being taken forward by the cancer registries in the regional health authorities and by the NHS information management group in the Department. At OPCS, the large and complex computer system is being completely redeveloped. This will not be ready until 1994, but results for England and Wales for 1987 should be published by spring next year and those for 1988 by the end of the year.