THE FACTS ABOUT SKIN CANCER
- Contrary to popular belief, melanoma IS NOT the most common form of skin cancer
- Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common form of skin cancer; about one million of the cases diagnosed annually are basal cell carcinomas. Basal cell carcinomas are rarely fatal.
- Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is the second most common form of skin cancer. More than 250,000 cases are diagnosed each year. Approximately 1% of these cases result in fatalities.
- According to the Skin Cancer Foundation Between 40 and 50 percent of Americans who live to age 65 will have either of these forms of skin cancer at least once regardless of age, race, or skin type.
- Despite sunscreen sales growing from just a few million dollars per year in 1974 to $5 billion in 2004, skin cancer detections are on the rise likely due to more visits to the dermatologists and better screening.
- Melanoma skin cancer is most common in people who work indoors – not in those who work outdoors.
- Melanoma skin cancer occurs most often on parts of the body that are not regularly exposed to the sun.
- 18 of 22 studies examining melanoma and indoor tanning have shown no statistically significant association, including the most recent and largest study, which showed no connection at all. The four older studies that alleged a connection did not adequately control for important confounding variables such as the subjects’ outdoor exposure to sunlight, childhood sunburns, type of tanning equipment utilized (many of which were unsupervised home units) and duration and quantity of exposures.
- Melanoma mortality rates in the United States are not rising among young women, but are increasing dramatically among older men, according to National Cancer Institute data. (In Canada, melanoma rates for women under 50 have actually declined in the past 20 years). Yet the majority of the marketing message about this disease is directed at young women, who are the highest consumers of dermatological services.
- Skin cancer generally has a 20- to 30-year latency period. The rates of skin cancer we are seeing today in older individuals mostly are a function of the ignorant misbehavior of the 1970s and early 1980s. Recall: Society used to view sunburns as an inconvenient right of spring, or as a “precursor” to developing a summer tan. Severe burns were commonplace. Today we know how reckless that approach was, and the incidence rates of skin cancer today in those over 50 years of age reflect that ignorance.
- 0.12% of all deaths in the world are from skin cancers. By comparison nearly 30% of all deaths are from cardiovascular disease.
- You are 18 times more likely to die in a traffic accident than from skin cancer
- Of the 79 known causes of death, skin cancer ranks 75th
- New studies reveal that the sun IS NOT the most significant factor contributing to skin cancer. Genetics and the number of moles on your body are the determining factors.
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