By Nicola Cowell
SCIENTISTS have made a dramatic breakthrough in the battle against skin cancer.
A team in America has discovered a series of new ‘master’ cells, which are the cause of cancers returning after treatment.
The discovery of the so-called ‘stem cells’, which cause malignant skin tumours, is expected to open up new paths in the search for a cure.
The breakthrough by scientists at Stanford University could help them develop more effective treatments.
These stem cells, which had gone undetected until now, are the reason why cancers return after treatment, as they cannot be wiped-out by radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
The discovery is particularly good news for expatriates living in Spain, a country that receives about 300 days of sunshine a year.
The risk of skin cancer is higher here than the north of Europe and rates of skin cancer have doubled over the last decade.
Doctors are keen to promote prevention as the best cure for the disease, so slathering on the right sunscreen, wearing protective clothing and avoiding the midday sun is essential.
Sun-worshippers are also advised to see a doctor if they notice any change in existing moles or the appearance of new moles or sores on their skin.