The sun is the primary source of excessive ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which is the cause of most skin cancers. Immediate adverse effects of excessive exposure are sunburn and eye damage; longer effects include premature aging of the skin and skin cancer.
Why Preventing Skin Cancer Matters
Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States, with more than two million people being diagnosed each year. While most cases of skin cancer can be successfully treated if found early, the large and growing number of people getting the disease makes skin cancer a serious concern. Medical costs alone to treat skin cancer are estimated at almost $2 billion annually. Here are some other facts you might not now about skin cancer:
- More people were diagnosed with skin cancer in 2009 than with breast, prostate, lung, and colon cancer combined.
- About 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer during their lifetime.
- One American dies of melanoma almost every hour.
- Melanoma is one of the few cancers that continues to have an increasing number of cases each year.
- Melanoma is the second most common form of cancer for adolescents and young adults (15-29 years old).
- For people born in 2005, 1 in 52 will be diagnosed with melanoma— nearly 30 times higher than for people born in 1930.
- American Cancer Society. (2010). Cancer Facts and Figures: 2010. Retrieved September 7, 2010, from http://www.cancer.org/Research/CancerFactsFigures/CancerFactsFigures/cancer-facts-and-figures-2010
- Bickers, D.R., Lim, H.W., Margolis, D., et al. (2006). The burden of skin diseases: 2004 a joint project of the American Academy of Dermatology Association and the Society for Investigative Dermatology. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 55, 490-500.
- Bleyer, A., O’Leary, M., Barr, R., & Ries, L.A.G. (Eds.). (2006). Cancer Epidemiology in Older Adolescents and Young Adults 15 to 29 Years of Age, Including SEER Incidence and Survival: 1975-2000. National Cancer Institute, NIH Pub. No. 06-5767. Bethesda, MD. Retrieved March 13, 2009, from http://seer.cancer.gov/publications/aya/
- Edwards, B.K., Ward, E., Kohler, B.A., Eheman, C., Zauber, A.G., Anderson, R.N., … Ries, L.A.G. (2009). Annual report to the nation on the status of cancer, 1975-2006, featuring colorectal cancer trends and impact of interventions (risk factors, screening, and treatment) to reduce future rates. Cancer, 116(3), 544-573.
- Linos, E., Swetter, S.M., Cockburn, M.G., Colditz, G.A., and Clarke, C.A. (2009). Increasing burden of melanoma in the United States. Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 129(7), 1666-1674.
- National Cancer Institute. (2010). Melanoma of the Skin Fact Sheet. Retrieved September 7, 2010, from http://seer.cancer.gov
- Ries, L.A.G., Melbert, D., Krapcho, M., Stinchcomb, D.G., Howlader, N., Horner, M.J., Mariotto, A., Miller, B.A., Feuer, E.J., Altekruse, S.F., Lewis, D.R., Clegg, L., Eisner, M.P., Reichman, M., & Edwards, B.K. (Eds.). (2008). SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2005, Section 16: Melanoma of the Skin. Based on November 2007 SEER data submission, posted to the SEER web site, 2008. National Cancer Institute. Bethesda, MD. Retrieved March 13, 2009, from http://seer.cancer.gov/csr/1975_2005/
- Rigel, D.S., Friedman, R.J., & Kopf, A.W. (1996). The Incidence of Malignant Melanoma in the United States: Issues as We Approach the 21st Century. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 34(5), 839-847.
- Robinson, J.K. (2005). Sun Exposure, Sun Protection, and Vitamin D. Journal of the American Medical Association, 294, 1541-1543.
- The Society for Investigative Dermatology and the American Academy of Dermatology Association. (2006). The Burden of Skin Diseases 2004. Retrieved March 7, 2010, from http://www.sidnet.org/pdfs/Burden%20of%20Skin%20Diseases%202004.pdf
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