Rates of New Deadly Skin Cancers Double Over Last 3 Decades; Cases in Young Women Account for Majority of Diagnoses

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June 11, 2015

Contact: Mary C. St. Mary / Mary.StMary@Erie.Gov

Phone: (716) 858-4941 / Mobile: (716)253-3925                   

Rates of New Deadly Skin Cancers Double Over Last 3 Decades 

Cases in Young Women Account for Majority of Diagnoses

ERIE COUNTY, NY — Melanoma, the potentially deadly skin cancer, has increased by 250 percent among U.S. children and young adults since the 1970s, researchers at Roswell Park Cancer Institute recently reported. Young women appear to be especially vulnerable, accounting for two-thirds of cases diagnosed in 2011.Sunscreen-Skin Cancer tips

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) report 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. Despite the alarming increase in melanoma rates, people of all ages continue to overexpose themselves to harmful ultraviolet radiation from the sun and at tanning salons.

“Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer, and it is on the rise,” said Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein.  “Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a hat and clothes that cover your skin, finding some shade if you are outside, especially in the middle of the day when the dangerous rays from the sun are most intense, and applying broad-spectrum sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30.”

“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 CDC’s 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.”

Recommendations for communities from the United States’ Department of Health and Human Services’ Community Guide for Preventive Services include: increased shade on playgrounds, at public pools, and other public spaces, promoting sun protection in recreational areas, encouraging employers, childcare centers, schools, and colleges to educate about sun safety and skin protection, and restricting 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 to seek shade outdoors whenever possible.

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For more information:         

Erie County Department of Health

Roswell Park Cancer Institute

National Cancer Institute

New York State Department of Health

Cancer Incidence and Mortality Statistics for Erie County

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention