One type of cancer affects Norwegians harder than others

Watch the video about the characters you need to be aware of further down in the case!

Most people are now looking forward to summer, sun and blue skies. Far fewer people think that the sun’s rays many people long for can be life-threatening.

The chance of developing malignant melanoma at some point in your life is approx. 3.4 percent. About 20 percent die of the disease.

Mole cancer has increased sharply in Norway among both women and men in the last ten years.

More men than women die from this disease – probably because men are less aware of danger signals, says researcher to TV 2.

The shock message

Late summer 2020.

Lars Marius Lauten (39), who has always loved the sun, had left behind a new summer.

DANGEROUS SUN RAYS: He has always lubricated himself, but has become much more careful. – I shun the sun when it is at its strongest, wear a sun hat and the highest sun factor, says Lars Marius Lauten. Here in Mexico. Photo: Private

The mother insisted that he see a doctor due to some skin changes on his nose.

It turned out to be skin cancer on the face, but this is not something you die of, Lars Marius was told.

– This type of skin cancer, called basal cell carcinoma, can not spread with blood to lymph or other organs, he explains.

Marius took it in stride – but it was quickly replaced by a new and even greater shock.

– I went back to the doctor to start the treatment of the skin cancer of the face. She insisted on checking the rest of my body since I was first there. That was when she discovered a mole that did not look good. In the middle of the stomach.

OPERATED: Photo from the abdomen shows the bandage after they have removed a piece of skin with cancer cells.  - Right at the edge of the swimming shorts, where I often have a tendency to get sunburned.  The doctor cut it off, and it was sent for analysis, Marius explains.

OPERATED: Photo from the abdomen shows the bandage after they have removed a piece of skin with cancer cells. – Right at the edge of the swimming shorts, where I often have a tendency to get sunburned. The doctor cut it off, and it was sent for analysis, Marius explains. Photo: Private

Cancer was detected in a mole. And Lars Marius was operated on immediately.

– Knowing that you have mole cancer hit me hard. For the first time, I was unsure if I could die of cancer. The uncertainty was the worst, recalls Lars Marius.

– Terrible

Lars Marius Lauten presents his story on TV 2 to help make more people aware of skin cancer.

– What has it been like to live with these types of cancer?

– The uncertainty in the first year was the worst. Walking around and feeling for tumors in the lymph, and feeling that there is “cancer” in one, is terrible.

PROTECTS AGAINST THE SUN: – Believe me, no tan or outdoor beer is worth getting cancer for. If my story and advice can help more people avoid mole cancer, I’m happy to share: “Protect yourself from the sun, and check your moles.” Here from the Bahamas. Photo: Private

– What advice do you have for others?

– Take care of the skin, lubricate yourself with a high factor and have a low threshold to see a doctor or experts at a pharmacy to check for moles, Lars Marius recommends.

Unwanted «location»

Norway is now in second place in the world in mortality from melanoma – or melanoma – which is the medical mention of skin cancer.

Norway is only beaten by New Zealand, according to the Global Cancer Observatory.

And if we compare ourselves with Nordic countries, the trend is disturbing.

– Although the incidence is just as high among Nordic men, the mortality rate from melanoma in Norway is more than 40 percent higher than in the other Nordic countries, figures from the Cancer Registry and Nordcan show, says Secretary General Ingrid Stenstadvold Ross of the Norwegian Cancer Society.

SIGNIFICANT FIGURES: Secretary General Ingrid Stenstadvold Ross of the Norwegian Cancer Society asks people to be more careful about checking themselves to detect skin cancer at the earliest possible time if possible.  Photo: Jorunn Valle Nilsen

SIGNIFICANT FIGURES: Secretary General Ingrid Stenstadvold Ross of the Norwegian Cancer Society asks people to be more careful about checking themselves to detect skin cancer at the earliest possible time if possible. Photo: Jorunn Valle Nilsen

She believes more needs to be done to detect cancer earlier, especially among men.

– That is why we are highlighting this in Hudkreftuken, says Stenstadvold Ross.

Take the test

The cancer association, together with dermatologists, has made a simple mole test which in one minute teaches you what danger signal you should go to the doctor with.

SKIN CANCER: Norwegians are hard hit, despite our geographical location.

SKIN CANCER: Norwegians are hard hit, despite our geographical location.

Exposure to UV radiation from the sun and solarium is the most common cause of skin cancer, according to the Norwegian Cancer Society.

The sharp increase in incidence is probably due to changes in solvency, especially among men in the age group over 50 years.

Detected too late

Skin cancer was rare in the fifties. This is no longer the case in Norway.

– We have a high incidence of skin cancer, despite our geographical location far from the equator, and despite our climate, says researcher Trude Eid Robsahm in the Cancer Registry.

“Men are probably not as fast as women at detecting skin changes,” says researcher Trude Eid Robsahm in the Norwegian Cancer Registry. Photo: The Norwegian Cancer Registry

She has been looking for the reasons why Norway comes out so poorly in the statistics on mortality.

– We found that men have thicker tumors at diagnosis, compared to women, and that they spread more often, says Robsahm.

The researcher points to one theory that explains why men are more vulnerable than women:

– Men are probably not as fast as women at detecting skin changes. A melanoma is therefore allowed to grow undisturbed for a longer period of time in a man than in a woman, so that the disease is therefore more serious when it is detected.

Norwegian patients have a more serious illness at diagnosis than in comparable countries, according to Robsahm.

The proportion of melanomas of this type is higher in Norway than in comparable countries, according to Robsahm.

– This may explain our high mortality, explains Robsahm, who believes that more deaths can be prevented if the disease is detected early enough, because thin tumors have a good prognosis.

Avoid the GP

That it can be difficult to know what a suspicious mole is, and when you should see a doctor, is confirmed in a new Solvane survey from the Norwegian Cancer Society and the Directorate for Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety DSA (Radiation Protection).

Only 4 out of 10 think they can consider even if they should go to the doctor with a mole.

– All forms of skin cancer most often show up as a skin change. That is why it is important to know your body. If there is a change in the skin that stands out and that you are unsure of, it is important to have it checked as soon as possible. Contact your GP, encourages Mari Sandvold, general manager of the Melanoma Association.

Five to ten percent of skin cancer cases are hereditary. If others in the family have had skin cancer, sun protection is extra important.

Facts about skin cancer

Mole cancer (melanoma)
This is the most serious form of skin cancer. In 2020, 2338 cases of the disease were registered (1180 men and 1158 women) and 295 deaths (in 2020).

Squamous cell carcinoma (non-melanoma skin cancer)
This skin cancer can rarely spread if left untreated. In 2020, 2901 cases were registered (1558 men and 1343 women). 58 died.

Basal cell carcinoma
This is the skin cancer form that most people get. Basal cell carcinoma is not fatal, but may require a lot of treatment if you do not see a doctor early. Basal cell carcinoma is not included in the Cancer Registry’s statistics, but it is estimated that there are well over 20,000 new cases annually.

Five to ten percent of skin cancer cases are hereditary. If others in the family have had skin cancer, sun protection is extra important.

Source: The Cancer Registry

5 sun tips for skin cancer:

How much the individual must protect themselves in the sun depends, among other things, on skin type, time of day and year, and how strong the sun is where you are.

Limit the time in strong sun

The sun is strongest in summer and in the middle of the day.

2. Seek shade

Reflection from water, sand and snow makes the sun’s rays more intense, even in the shade.

Use clothing and shade as protection

The clothes should cover as much skin as possible. A hat with a wide brim protects both the face, ears and neck.

Use plenty of sunscreen, factor 30 or higher

Sunscreen alone does not provide enough protection, and should be used with, not instead of, shade and clothing. Do not prolong your time in the sun even if you have lubricated yourself. Grease before going out, repeat every two hours and after bathing and sweating.

5. Do not use a solarium

There is no safe lower limit for how long you can stay in the solarium.

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