The American Cancer Society predicts than an estimated 76,250 new cases of melanoma will occur in the US this year. That number is 6,020 greater than the 2011 figures and has many dermatologists concerned.
Some suspect that the rise in cases is due to increased melanoma awareness. As more and more people check their skin for unusual growths and visit dermatologists for professional skin examinations, the numbers of those diagnosed with melanoma increase too. This theory also explains why more melanomas are being caught early, when they can still be easily cured.
At the same time, however, there has been a simultaneous increase in melanoma-related deaths. This indicates that there may be other contributing factors such as increased exposure to ultraviolet radiation.
Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer and rates of incidence have been steadily growing for the past 30 years. It is the fifth most common cancer among men, with 44,250 expected to be diagnosed in the US this year, and the sixth most common cancer among women, with 32,000 new cases.
The best way to protect yourself against melanoma is prevention. You should avoid tanning booths and always apply sunscreen before going out in the sun. Also, use hats, clothing with SPF protection, and do your outdoor activities before 10 AM and after 4 PM. In addition, it’s a good idea to check your entire body once a month for unusual growths. People with a family-history or personal history of skin cancer should see a doctor once a year for a skin exam.
If you’re concerned about a spot on your skin or would like a full skin exam, contact Zimmet Vein & Dermatology today.