If you know me (or are my patient), chances are that you have heard me lecture you on more than one occasion about the importance of wearing sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher and other tactics to avoid sun burn and excessive UV exposure. However, you may also want to remember these very important facts, as outlined by the American Cancer Society:
1) over 2 million non-melanoma skin cancers are diagnosed each year.
2) People who have more than 50 moles, atypical moles, or a family history of melanoma are at an increased risk of developing melanoma.
3) The American Cancer Society recommends a skin cancer-related checkup and counseling about sun exposure as part of any periodic health examination for men and women beginning at age 20.
5) Approximately 1/5 Americans will develop skin cancer over their lifetime.
6) Melanoma incidence rates have been increasing for at least 30 years.
7) Approximately 75 percent of skin cancer deaths are from melanoma.
8) Melanoma is the most common form of cancer for young adults 25-29 years old and the second most common form of cancer for adolescents and young adults 15-29 years old.
9) Melanoma is increasing faster in females 15-29 years old than males in the same age group.
10) Melanoma in individuals 10-39 years old is highly curable. (5 year survival rates exceed 90 percent).
11) One in 58 men and women will be diagnosed with melanoma during their lifetime. Caucasians and men older than 50 are at a higher risk.
12) Individuals who have a history of melanoma should have a full-body exam at least annually and perform regular self-exams for new and changing moles.
13) The five-year survival rate for people whose melanoma is detected and treated before it spreads to the lymph nodes is 98 percent.
14) One American dies of melanoma almost every hour.