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