Monday September 16th 2019

Stopping melanoma

Melanoma rates doubled between 1982 and 2011, but comprehensive skin cancer prevention programs could prevent 20 percent of new cases between 2020 and 2030, according to a June Vital Signs report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, and melanoma is the most deadly type of skin cancer. More than 90 percent of melanoma skin cancers are due to skin cell damage from ultraviolet radiation exposure. Melanoma rates increased from 11.2 per 100,000 in 1982 to 22.7 per 100,000 in 2011. The report notes that without additional community prevention efforts, melanoma will continue to increase over the next 15 years.

This Vital Signs report shows 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. By 2030, according to the report, effective community skin cancer prevention programs could prevent an estimated 230,000 melanoma skin cancers and save $2.7 billion in treatment costs. Successful programs feature community efforts that combine education, mass media campaigns and policy changes to increase skin protection for children and adults.

The report highlights the recommendations for communities from the Community Guide for Preventive Services. Communities can increase shade on playgrounds, at public pools and other public spaces; promote sun protection in recreational areas; encourage employers, childcare centers, schools and colleges to educate about sun safety and skin protection; and restrict 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 seek shade outdoors.

To learn about CDC’s efforts to prevent skin cancer: www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin.

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