“We love the sun, we have long and cold winters, and as soon as we get our vacation, we Swedes want to make the most of every minute of our sun, which our skin can’t handle,” said Ingrid Synnerstad, associate professor in skin disease and chief physician at the dermatology clinic at Linköping University Hospital, to SR.
An international web survey, presented on Tuesday at Sweden’s annual political event “Almedalsveckan” shows that every year roughly 2,800 people in Sweden are diagnosed with malignant melanoma, which is now one of the most common forms of cancer in Sweden.
According to the survey, Swedes are the nationality who consider a nice tan to be the most important, and also who use least solar protection and subsequently burn the most.
Sweden is also, second only to Australia, the country with the largest percentage of its population struck by malignant melanoma.
And according to Ingrid Synnerstad it’s hard to get Swedes to understand and accept that there are risks associated with sun bathing.
The number of cases of skin cancer has doubled in Sweden every decade since the sixties, most likely because of the growing number of vacationers travelling to sunny countries.
According to the study, forty percent of those who’ve survived the deadliest form of skin cancer, malignant melanoma, continue to sun bathe, despite being aware of the risks of the cancer relapsing.
The international web survey on sunbathing habits was conducted by GenoMEL, an international cooperation supported by the European Union among others.