Researchers found a 50% rise in cases of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, in young women in the United States. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, upwards of 1 million new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed every year and an estimated 62,480 people will be diagnosed with melanoma in the U. S. in 2008. Though its survival rate when detected early is 95%, about 11,200 people will die from it.
Mark Purdue, a researcher at the National Cancer Institute’s Division of Cancer Epidemiology & Genetics and lead author felt the rise in melanoma cases was a result of indoor and outdoor tanning. He felt that the public education campaigns to educate Americans about the risks of tanning had not had much success.
Dr. Jeffrey LaDuca also felt the increase was due to the number of young women who often disregard doctors’ advice for the sake of beauty. "In the last year I've diagnosed probably seven melanomas in women under 25 years old." "For a lot of people, they just don't take it seriously. They just don't think that skin cancer is that big of a deal," said LaDuca.
Experts recommend the generous application of water resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or more. This lotion should ideally protect against both UVA and UVB rays and applied to all body parts that are exposed to the sun at least 20-30 minutes before going into the sun. Avoiding sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. when the sun’s rays are the most intense, wearing protective clothing and a hat and sunglasses are other basic recommendations.
Medical experts also feel that people tend to be casual about discovering and reporting the disease. Changes in shape, size or colour of an existing mole or skin growth, the appearance of a new growth on the skin and any other changes should be routinely examined and reported.
“Checking yourself and others can save someone’s life,” Dr. Jeffrey C. Salomon, an assistant clinical professor of plastic surgery at Yale University School of Medicine said.