U.S. melanoma rates keep rising

U.S. melanoma rates keep rising

U.S. melanoma rates keep rising, and related deaths have been increasing for the last decades, according to a recent study.

Despite preventive efforts, melanoma rates have not gone down, and researchers now estimate that one in 54 Americans will develop invasive melanoma.

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation:

The most dangerous form of skin cancer, these cancerous growths develop when unrepaired DNA damage to skin cells (most often caused by ultraviolet radiation from sunshine or tanning beds) triggers mutations (genetic defects) that lead the skin cells to multiply rapidly and form malignant tumors.

Physicians have improved their ability to identify melanomas in the past 30 years . . . but this alone likely does not explain the increased number of melanomas,” said study coauthor Dr. Alex Glazer, a physician based in New York City who is affiliated with the National Society for Cutaneous Medicine.

Despite public health measures and warnings people still get a high level of UV exposure from the sun and tanning beds which is likely contributing to the increased incidence,” Glazer added in an email to Huff Post.

The rise in melanoma cases and deaths in the U.S. over the past two decades is similar to trends worldwide.

The researchers examined melanoma trends in the U.S. since 2009.

During the study period, melanoma rates climbed from 22.2 to 23.6, which the researchers calculated to be a 1 percent annual compound increase.

Rates for early-stage tumors found in the outer layers of the skin, known as in situ melanoma, rose with annual increases of about 3 percent per year.

The incidences of melanoma in situ (the earliest form of melanoma) and thin invasive tumors are increasing at a faster rate than that of thicker tumors, and the five-year survival rates are also improving, which is likely due to more melanomas being diagnosed at earlier stages,” said Dr. Elizabeth Martin, of Pure Dermatology and Aesthetics and the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine.

Early detection is the key to curing melanoma,” Martin added.

The study has brought to the light the importance of managing sun exposure. While some sun is good, as it helps the body produce vitamin D, too much can cause serious health conditions.

Sunscreen is also paramount when it comes to preventing damage to the skin from the sun. If you don’t know which one you should buy, check out our tips on how to select a sunscreen that is safe for you.

The study showing that U.S. melanoma rates keep rising was published in the journal JAMA Dermatology.

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1. “U.S. Melanoma Rates Keep Rising.” HuffingtonPost.com. The Huffington Post, n.d. Web. 3 Jan. 2017.
2. “Melanoma.” SkinCancer.org. Skin Cancer Foundation, n.d. Web. 04 Jan. 2017.
3. “Trends in US Melanoma Incidence and Mortality.” JAMANetwork.com. JAMA Dermatology, 21 Dec. 2016. Web. 04 Jan. 2017.

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