May is National Skin Cancer Month and it serves as a good reminder to all of us to do what we can to protect ourselves. Skin cancer is on the rise, especially among young people. What makes the climbing statistics so alarming is that skin cancer is the most preventable type of cancer.
How much do you know about skin cancer? Here are six shocking facts.
- About 90 percent of non-melanoma skin cancer is caused by ultra-violet sun exposure.
According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health, ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is the main cause of skin cancer. There are two types of non-melanoma skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma. These cancers almost never spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body. They can, however, cause damage by growing and invading surrounding tissue. Always protect your skin from UV rays outdoors or exposure through windows and avoid using indoor tanning beds.
- Skin cancer accounts for nearly 50 percent of all cancers combined.
Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer for both sexes. Melanoma, the most dangerous skin cancer type, is now the most common form of cancer in young adults 25-29 years old, and the second most common form of cancer in adolescents and young adults ages 15-29, according to The Skin Cancer Foundation. Melanoma is increasing faster in females 15-29 years old than males in the same age group and the torso is the most common location for developing melanoma, which may be the result of high-risk tanning behaviors.
- One person dies from melanoma almost every hour.
Most people don’t think about skin cancer being deadly. Unfortunately 8,000 people will die of melanoma in the U.S. this year; another 2,800 people will die of non-melanoma skin cancer. Protect your skin by using a sunscreen with a SPF 15 or higher, avoid direct exposure to midday sun, wearing protective clothing and avoid using indoor sun beds. The World Health Organization estimated that as many as 65,161 people a year worldwide die from too much sun, mostly from malignant skin cancer.