Skin Cancer Rates Continue to Climb in the US
Skin cancer rates are increasing and yet life continues on for the majority of Americans not yet affected. According to the Center for Disease Control, from 2002 to 2011, rates of melanoma in white and Hispanic men and women have increased significantly per year. One person will die from melanoma every hour and in the past 3 decades, there have been more diagnosed cases of skin cancer than all other cancers combined. In fact, one in five Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer in their lifetime.
“It’s actually quite frightening,” says Dr. Adam Mamelak, dermatologist and skin cancer surgeon in Austin, Texas. “While the incidence of many cancers like breast, prostate, lung and colorectal, have stabilized or are dropping, melanoma skin cancer continues to rise.” Dr. Mamelak is referring to a recent 2015 study by the American Cancer Society.
Given the statistics, one does well to ask is there anything that you can do to protect yourself and your family from this very preventable cancer? Common sense interventions continue to reign supreme such as:
But one of the most effective interventions that is often overlooked is that of doing a thorough skin exam.
- Check skin monthly, preferably after a bath or shower.
- Enlist the help of a partner or use a handheld mirror to check areas hard to visualize such as the back or the back of thighs.
- Learn the shape and patterns of moles or warts to identify any acute changes.
- Check under skin folds, including under breasts for women and part hair at the scalp to check underlying skin.