The rate of most cancers is declining in the U.S. but the incidence of melanoma, the most deadly skin cancer, doubled from 1982 through 2011, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
It's a big problem because skin cancer is the most common form of caner in the U.S. and melanoma is the most deadly skin cancer. It's caused primarily by skin cell damage from ultraviolet radiation -- the sun and tanning beds.
“Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer, and it’s on the rise,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a hat and clothes that cover your skin. Find some shade if you’re outside, especially in the middle of the day when the dangerous rays from the sun are most intense, and apply broad-spectrum sunscreen.”
The CDC report warns that without additional community prevention efforts, melanoma will continue to increase over the next 15 years, with 112,000 new cases projected in 2030. It calls for more community prevention efforts -- like providing more shade in playgrounds and keeping teens out of tanning salons.
“The rate of people getting melanoma continues to increase every year compared to the rates of most other cancers, which are declining,” said Lisa Richardson, MD, MPH, Director of the Division of Cancer Prevention and Control. “If we take action now, we can prevent hundreds of thousands of new cases of skin cancers, including melanoma, and save billions of dollars in medical costs.”
This CDC report shows that melanoma is responsible for more than 9,000 skin cancer deaths each year. In 2011, more than 65,000 melanoma skin cancers were diagnosed. By 2030, according to the report, effective community skin cancer prevention programs could prevent an estimated 230,000 melanoma skin cancers and save $2.7 billion dollars in treatment costs.
Successful programs feature community efforts that combine education, mass media campaigns, and policy changes to increase skin protection for children and adults.
This report highlights the recommendations for communities from the Community Guide for Preventive Services. Communities can increase shade on playgrounds, at public pools, and other public spaces, promote sun protection in recreational areas, encourage employers, childcare centers, schools, and colleges to educate about sun safety and skin protection, and restrict the availability and use of indoor tanning by minors.
Everyone is encouraged to protect their skin with protective clothing, wide-brimmed hats, broad-spectrum SPF sunscreen, and seek shade outdoors.
Through the Affordable Care Act, more Americans will qualify to get healthcare coverage that fits their needs and budget, including important preventive services. Behavioral counseling is now provided with no cost-sharing to counsel people aged 10–24 years with fair skin about limiting their exposure to UV radiation to reduce risk of skin cancer. Visit Healthcare.gov or call 1-800-318-2596 (TTY/TDD 1-855-889-4325) to learn more.
To learn about CDC’s efforts to prevent skin cancer, visit: www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin.
Vital Signs is a report that appears on the first Tuesday of the month as part of the CDC journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The report provides the latest data and information on key health indicators. These are cancer prevention, obesity, tobacco use, motor vehicle passenger safety, prescription drug overdose, HIV/AIDS, alcohol use, health care-associated infections, cardiovascular health, teen pregnancy, and food safety.
The rate of most cancers is declining in the U.S. but the incidence of melanoma, the most deadly skin cancer, doubled from 1982 thro...