Credit: © apitsada / Fotolia

Credit: © apitsada / Fotolia

Skin cancer rates continue to rise

Skin cancer rates continue to rise, according to the latest research from Mayo Clinic.

New diagnoses for two major types of skin cancer has increased lately, the study reports.

The Mayo Clinic researchers used data from the Rochester Epidemiology Project to compare incidences of basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma ─ both nonmelanoma skin cancers ─ between 2000 and 2010 to cases in previous years.

The researchers report that between 2000 and 2010, squamous cell carcinoma rates increased by a shocking 263 percent, and basal cell carcinomas increased 145 percent.

So what is causing this uptick in skin cancer rates?

We know that the sun and some artificial sunlight sources give off skin-damaging ultraviolet, or UV, rays,” says Christian Baum, M.D., a Mayo Clinic dermatologist and the study’s senior author. “This skin damage accumulates over time and can often lead to skin cancer.”

Despite the fact that sunscreens and cautionary information have been widely available for more than 50 years, we saw the emergence of tanning beds in the 1980s, and tanning — indoors or out — was a common activity for many years.”

Dr. Baum notes that tanning popularity has gone down, but tanning beds are still in existence, and beaches will never be empty. He also adds that this damage accumulates over time, and “eventually those blistering sunburns of your youth and hot, reddened skin, and peeling shoulders of your adulthood can add up to one or more skin cancers.”

This is why it is so important to use sunscreen.

Use sunscreen,” says Dr. Baum. “This includes on your left arm for those who do a lot of driving. UV rays can penetrate car windows and exposed skin ─ even when the sun isn’t shining. UV rays bounce around under the clouds, off the snow, buildings, and more, causing damage ─ even on gray days.”

The study showing that skin cancer rates continue to rise was published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

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1. “Skin Cancer on the Rise.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, n.d. Web. 15 May 2017.
2. “Incidence and Trends of Basal Cell Carcinoma and Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma.” Mayo Clinic Proceedings. Mayo Clinic, n.d. Web. 15 May 2017.

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