Melanoma Surveillance in the United States
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), with partners from the state health departments and the cancer research community, have come together to support a series of important articles on “Melanoma Surveillance in the United States,” published by the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.
The series was designed to improve the health of Americans with what works and what more needs to be done to lessen the burden of melanoma in the United States.
Currently, melanoma is the deadliest type of skin cancer, with about 8,000 deaths a year.
Important findings state that death caused by melanoma accounted for $3.5 billion in lost productivity each year. Also, people that died from melanoma between 2000 and 2006 died 20 years prematurely in comparison to 17 years from other cancers.
Doctors believe that melanoma is caused from exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation not only from the sun, but from tanning beds and lamps as well. Melanoma is then caused after cells begin to develop damaged DNA, where the cells can grow out of control and form a mass of cancerous cells.
Health officials highly advise people to stay away from tanning beds and lamps, where the UV lights are too close to the skin.
Like being outside during the day? Here are some ways to help protect yourself from the sun:
-Wear as much clothing as possible to protect your skin from UV rays.
-Slather on sunscreen as often as possible. Sunscreens can come in many forms, including lotions, creams, lip balms, and ointments. The higher the SPF on the package, the more protection for a longer amount of time you will get.
-Wear a hat. A hat with a 2-3 inch brim can help not only cover the top of your head and scalp, but your ears, forehead, nose, and eyes.
-Wear sunglasses that block UV rays. Check the label to make sure it says that it blocks 99-100% of UVA and UVB rays.
-Limit your sun exposure during midday. UV rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun is high in the sky.
-Remember, sun rays can reach you even on cloudy days, and even through windows.
People need the sun to obtain vitamin D for their bodies, but remember- a little bit goes a long way.