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Melanoma Rates Have Doubled

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported that melanoma rates have doubled while the rates for other cancers have decreased.

The Facts

  • More than 90 percent of melanomas are due to ultraviolet radiation from sun exposure and indoor tanning.
  • Melanomas account for 9,000 deaths each year.

The bad news

  • Melanoma rates doubled in the past 30 years (1982-2011).
  • Without additional community prevention efforts, melanoma rates will continue to increase over the next 15 years.

The good news

  • Comprehensive skin cancer prevention programs could prevent 20 percent of new cases between 2020 and 2030.
  • 21,000 new melanoma cases could be avoided each year.

CDC recommendations to communities

  • Increase shade at playgrounds, public pools, and other public spaces.
  • Promote sun protection in recreation areas.
  • Restrict the availability and use of indoor tanning by minors. (Nearly 1 of 3 young white women ages 16–25 use indoor tanning each year).
  • Encourage employers, childcare centers, schools, and colleges to educate employees and students about sun safety and skin protection.

What can I do to protect myself and my family?

  • Do not go to tanning salons.
  • Do not lay out in the sun and try to get a tan.
  • Apply sunscreen to exposed areas.
  • Wear a hat with a wide brim.
  • Wear UV blocking sunglasses.
  • Wear a shirt or rash guard when swimming.

Should I make an appointment to be checked for melanoma?

Make an appointment if you have:

  • A personal history of melanoma.
  • A close blood relative who has had a melanoma.
  • A new spot or a spot that is changing.
  • Had numerous sunburns before the age of 20.
  • Red hair or burn easily.
  • Have more than 20 moles.

Click here to read the CDC report on Preventing Melanoma.

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