Melanoma, the most serious skin cancer, is killing fewer people, probably thanks to new treatments
Overall, about 20% of Americans develop skin cancer at some point in their lives – men more often than women, but women are generally younger than men. Anyone can develop skin cancer, regardless of skin color.
Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States, but it is also considered the most preventable. Most of the time, skin cancer develops due to overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) light, either from the sun or from an artificial source such as a sunlamp or tanning bed. UV rays damage skin cells, causing abnormal cells to form, divide and spread rapidly.
Many types of skin cancer are preventable. Here are some good ways to protect yourself.
Treatment varies by type and stage of skin cancer, but common methods include surgery to shave or cut the cancerous tissue or freezing (known as cryosurgery) to destroy the tissue.
Preventing the development of skin cancer begins with protecting the skin from UV rays. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, this means avoiding indoor tanning and, outdoors, seeking shade as much as possible, wearing protective clothing, sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat, and applying a Water-resistant, broad-spectrum sunscreen with sun protection. SPF (SPF) of 30 or more for any skin not covered by clothing.
Any exposure to UV rays – not just sunburn and blisters, but also tanning – can lead to skin cancer.
This article is part of the Post’s “Big Number” series, which briefly examines the statistical side of health problems. Additional information and relevant research is available via the hyperlinks.