Skin Cancer and Melanoma Still on Rise, Despite Awareness

A new report by the American Academy of Dermatology shows high number of new cases

By Zachary Rogers

Summer is a time when everyone spends a lot more quality time outside. And even with all the sunshine and fun to be had, it also means increased exposure to deadly ultraviolet rays, which can take a toll on both you and your summer fun.

With just about every other kind of cancer on the decline besides melanoma, the realities can be shocking. About 75 percent of skin cancer-related deaths are from melanoma, and on average, one American dies from melanoma every hour. In addition, an estimated 3,270 deaths from other skin cancers will occur in the United States in 2014. Furthermore, the World Health Organization says that more than 65,000 people die worldwide every year from melanoma. The use of tanning beds increases the threat of skin cancer by roughly 75 percent, making them a significant risk factor.

The risk for diseases like skin cancer and melanoma, the most dangerous kind of skin cancer, are greater with the more exposure one has to UV rays. Awareness has been at an all-time high in recent years, but that doesn’t mean people are taking the proper steps at prevention. In fact, according to a recent report by the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), more than 3.5 million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed every year in the U.S., with about one in five Americans developing skin cancer in their lifetime. And that’s not all: the report also estimates there will be nearly 140,000 new cases of melanoma diagnosed in the U.S. this year alone.

So does all this mean you can’t enjoy summer? Of course not. It’s simply a matter of taking the right steps to help protect your skin as much as you can. As with all cancer, early detection is key. Annual examinations, especially if you notice anything new or unusual on your skin, can help tremendously. Using sunscreen that’s 30 SPF or higher also does wonders, and those spending more time in the sun than usual are encouraged to reapply sunscreen about once every hour.

By taking the necessary precautions, the chances of getting some form of skin cancer or melanoma can decrease dramatically. As with everything in life, it’s not so much a matter of listening as it is doing.

To see a more in-depth look at the AAD report, click here. For more information on skin cancer and melanoma, visit the American Academy of Dermatology’s website.


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