The number of hospital admissions for skin cancer in England has rocketed 41% in just five years, according to findings from a study by Public Health England, as experts blame cheap holidays and fashion tanning for the rise.

The data, which are to be presented this week at the World Congress on Cancers of the Skin in Edinburgh, Scotland, show that there were 87,685 skin cancer admissions in English hospitals in 2007 but that in 2011 this stood at 123,808. 

The study also revealed a 30% increase in cases of melanoma, the deadliest form of the disease, being treated in hospital, as well as a 43% increase in non-melanoma skin cancer admissions, pushing the annual treatment bill to more than £95 million.

According to the British Association of Dermatologists (BAD), skin cancers are the most common form of cancer in England, with numbers equal to all other types of cancers combined, and yet they are also largely preventable by avoiding excess exposure to the sun. 

BAD member Johnathon Major says the increase was inevitable as “holidays to sunny locations become cheaper and tanned skin remains a desirable fashion statement,” and stressed that “more must be done to communicate to the public the serious risks associated with unmediated sun exposure if we are to see a decline in these figures”.