Melanoma rates are increasing.
Melanoma takes more than 9,000 lives of US citizens each year and according to the latest CDC report, incident rates are projected to rise similar to the last 30 years. Although melanoma related deaths are leveling off, thanks to early detection and improved treatment, melanoma still remains the 5th most common type of cancer for men and 7th for women.
Getting sunburned is dangerous to ones’ health, especially when you are a ‘non-Hispanic’ white person. Sunburns are a risk factor for melanoma and almost 40% people in the US report getting sunburn each year and 90% of melanomas are caused by ultraviolet radiation (sun exposure).
Prevention is the best way to reduce melanoma rates.
This CDC report considers Australia’s model of the SunSmart program and assumes it to be applied nationwide in the US over the next 15 years. The Aussies have implemented this sun protection program and note a reduction in skin cancers rates with campaigns and media exposure. The bottom line: educate on skin cancer prevention and it pays off.
Promoting the prevention message.
The SunSmart program promotes ways to integrate sun-protective measures to avoid sunburns such as making sunscreen available in public places, providing shade for child play areas, and advocate sun protective clothing, accessories, and eyewear. It is assumed, if implemented in the US, this has the potential to reduce melanoma rates by approximately 21,000 each year, thus saving lives, and reducing the financial burden on healthcare costs.
The reality is…..
As an outdoor enthusiast it is hard to avoid sun exposure, especially living in a sunny climate. If you enjoy being outside on sunny days, sun protective clothing is best. Enjoy the outdoors but remember one thing: do what you can to avoid sunburn. Otherwise, lessons will be repeated until they are learned…if its not too late.
Patricia Ferrer, PA-C