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Melanoma: The Facts & Figures

By HERWriter
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According to the American Cancer Society, of all cancers, skin cancer is the most prevalent and melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer. Also, research has found a correlation between sunburns and the increased risk for melanoma.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, "one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime."

The American Cancer Society estimates that the number of new melanoma cases in the U.S. has increased over the last 30 years. Regardless of your skin type, anyone can develop melanoma. The risk of developing melanoma according to ethnic group is as follows:

• One in 1,000 for African Americans
• One in 200 for Latinos/Hispanics
• One in 50 for Caucasians

The good news is melanoma is highly curable if detected early. The American Cancer Society estimated that there are more than 8,700 deaths from melanoma annually. Also, there are approximately more than 68,000 new cases in the U.S. per year.

Recent research shows indoor tanning increases the risk of melanoma by 75 percent. The most common risk factor of skin cancer, including melanoma, is sun exposure.

To reduce your risk of melanoma and other skins cancers, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends covering up your exposed body parts with a hat, shirt, etc., seeking shade from the sun and applying sunscreen. The following are sunscreen recommendations by the American Academy of Dermatology:
• To cover your entire body, apply approximately a shot glass full of sunscreen
• Reapply sunscreen every two hours
• Purchase sunscreen that is water resistant
• Purchase sunscreen that is 30 SPF or higher
• Don’t forget to protect your lips with a lip balm that has a 30 SPF or higher
• Remember to apply sunscreen on your "forgotten areas" like your toes, fingers, ears and neck
• Apply insect repellent separately. Reapply repellent every six hours

If you are looking for the healthy tan or bronzed look, consider purchasing a sunless tanner. A sunless tanner is also known as a bronzer or self-tanner. However, if you go out in the sun, just remember to apply sunscreen over your sunless tanner.

Sunless tanners range in cost. Here is a recent 2011 review of the top sunless tanners: http://www.consumersearch.com/sunless-tanners

The American Academy of Dermatology and dermatologists across the U.S. offer free skin cancer screenings. The free screenings generally occur during the spring. If you are interested in a free cancer screening go to the following link: http://www.aad.org/skin-conditions/skin-cancer-detection/free-skin-cancer-screenings

Just insert your zip code and your state to find a free cancer screening near you. You can also sign up for a free notification.


Reviewed May 23, 2011
Edited by Alison Stanton

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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