Now that half the year is gone, let us evaluate the outlook and statistics for the most common form of cancer – skin cancer. The American Academy of Dermatology has estimated that almost 200,000 new cases of melanoma will be diagnosed in 2019. It is also worth mentioning that there are about 9,500 people who are diagnosed with skin cancer every day. This trend has continued to increase – the statistic actually doubled from 1982 to 2011. Keep in mind that melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer, so that means that a vast majority of skin cancer deaths are from this disease. This figure stands at about 20 people per day. Just this year, skin experts estimate over 7000 deaths to be attributed to melanoma.
At this moment, there are over a million Americans living with this disease. Melanoma remains to be the second most common form of cancer in women from the age of 15 to 29, and caucasians have a higher rate of incidence annually. However, it can affect any gender and any skin color. Melanoma does not discriminate.
As far as causes go, exposure to the sun’s UV rays remains the major cause. Second is exposure to artificial UV light, like tanning booths. The longer amount of time you have been exposed to UV rays, the higher the risk you have for developing melanoma. Just one bad sunburn can double or even triple your chances of getting this disease.
Even though you may have surgery to get a site on your skin affected by melanoma removed, the approximation of developing another melanoma on your skin is still NINE-FOLD. Remember that prevention is better than treatment. Protect yourself by applying sunscreen with sufficient SPF of 30 or higher every day, and re-apply every couple of hours. You should also avoid being in direct exposure of the sun’s rays as much as you can. If you do have to be outside during the hours of 10 AM to 4 PM when the sun’s rays are at their strongest, wear protective clothing, or seek shade as much as you can.
Arm yourself with this knowledge, get your skin checked regularly by your dermatologist, and keep a close watch for any moles, lesions or other skin areas that might be changing rapidly.