Friday, May 02, 2008

Know the Facts

May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month. Along with regular entries about beauty and other fun, girly things, I am going to provide information about skin cancer, how to prevent it, what to look for, and a whole lot of other things to hopefully get you to think about your skin and health before heading out in the sun.

Today, I give you some statistics about skin cancer from The Skin Cancer Foundation:
  • Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. More than 1 million skin cancers are diagnosed annually.
  • Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common form of skin cancer. More than 250,000 cases are diagnosed each year, resulting in approximately 2,500 deaths each year.
  • One in 5 Americans and one in 3 Caucasians will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime.
  • More than 90 percent of all skin cancers are caused by sun exposure.
  • A person's risk for skin cancer doubles if he or she has had five or more sunburns.


  • Approximately 59,940 melanomas will be diagnosed this year, with nearly 8,110 resulting in death.

Incidence Deaths
Men: 33,910 5,220
Women: 26,030 2,890
  • More than 20 people die each day from skin cancer, primarily melanoma.
  • 1 in 59 men and women will be diagnosed with melanoma during their lifetime.
  • One blistering sunburn in childhood more than doubles a person's chances of developing melanoma later in life.
  • While melanoma is uncommon in African-Americans, Latinos, and Asians, it is most deadly for these populations because it is more likely to develop undetected.
  • Survival rate for patients with early detection is about 99%. The survival rate falls to between 15 and 65% or higher, depending on how far the disease has spread.
  • The cost of melanoma in the U.S. is more than $740 million annually.
  • Ultraviolet radiation (UVR) is a proven human carcinogen, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
  • Exposure to tanning beds before age 35 increases melanoma risk by 75 percent.
  • Nearly 30 million people tan indoors in the U.S. annually; 2.3 million of them are teens.
  • On an average day in the U.S., more than 1 million people tan in tanning salons; 70% are Caucasian women aged 16-49.
  • People who use tanning beds are 2.5 times more likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma and 1.5 times more likely to develop basal cell carcinoma.
  • Occasional use of tanning beds almost triples the chances of developing melanoma.
  • New high-pressure sunlamps emit doses of UVR that can be as much as 15 times that of the sun
  • The indoor tanning industry has an estimated revenue of $5 billion.
  • Up to 90 percent of the visible skin changes commonly attributed to aging are caused by the sun. These changes can be seen as early as in one's 20's.
Being very fair skinned, I have resisted societal pressure to tan. In the summer I may use a self tanning moisturizer, but I have never been one to tan. Sitting out in the sun sounds like a painful waste of time, and tanning beds? I'd never use one. Have you ever noticed how much a tanning bed resembles a coffin? It's just creepy.

Bottom line: be smart. Embrace your inner pale goddess. That "healthy glow" really isn't that healthy.

1 comment:

Leslie said...

I'm glad you're posting this. Melanoma is one of my pet causes - it is such an awful disease. I have a section on my blog for those who have died of it - it's under "inspiring places." Their blogs are so sad to read, but they remind me of how frail and fragile we all are and how we need to be diligent about taking care of ourselves and those we love.