Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S. In fact, one out of every five American will develop it during their lifetime. However, when caught early on, skin cancer is almost always curable, which is why it’s crucial to continue raising awareness and education about this widespread disease this May.
Skin Cancer Statistics
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, it’s estimated that non-melanoma skin cancer, including basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, will affect over 3 million Americans in 2018. An additional 178,560 new cases of melanoma will be diagnosed, adding to the more than 1 million Americans currently living with this deadly cancer. Unfortunately, the incidence of melanoma is on the rise, as rates in the United States doubled from 1982 to 2011. Caucasians and men over 50 are at an increased risk of developing melanoma. However, this skin cancer is now hitting younger generations more often. Melanoma is the second most common cancer in women aged 15 to 29.
These stats show how important skin cancer awareness, education, and research really is. It’s encouraged to talk about your experience with skin cancer, whether you’re a survivor, a patient, or a loved one of someone who is. Sharing your personal story can have a strong impact on those around you and it could even save somebody’s life!
If you’d like to do even more to help the cause, you can connect with the Skin Cancer Foundation and make a donation to support education, prevention, and treatment of skin cancer. You can also aid the American Academy of Dermatology in their ongoing research and free cancer screenings with the SPOTme Skin Cancer Screening Program.
Preventing Skin Cancer
Now that you’re aware of just how common skin cancer is, it’s time to know how to prevent it—and it’s easier than you may think! Approximately 95 percent of melanoma cases are from ultraviolet (UV) light exposure, which means that being smart while outside can greatly decrease your chances of getting it. Always try to stay out of the sun and stay in the shade, but if you are exposed to direct sunlight, avoid burning. It only takes five or more sunburns in your life to double your risk for melanoma, and one severe sunburn during childhood can also double your risk.
The strongest defense against UV radiation is covering up with clothing. Protecting your skin with long sleeve shirts, pants, a hat, and sunglasses whenever possible can keep harmful UV light at bay. If you can’t wear all of those extra layers, always make sure to use a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher. When outside for prolonged periods, use a water-resistant one that’s SPF 30 or higher, and reapply every two hours or after getting wet.
The next most effective way to prevent dangerous skin cancer is by consistently checking your skin from head to toe every month, as well as a yearly exam by your doctor or dermatologist. It’s important to thoroughly inspect every part of your entire body and not just glance over it in the shower or mirror. If possible, have your partner help you with any trouble spots, or use a second mirror for the more difficult-to-see areas. If you happen to spot any changes in an existing mole or you notice a new growth that seems suspicious, immediately see your physician or dermatologist for a professional opinion. When it comes to skin cancer, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Skin Cancer Treatment at West Michigan Plastic Surgery
Dr. Holley takes skin cancer very seriously. That’s why he provides safe and effective skin cancer removal in Western Michigan. If you are in the Portage, Kalamazoo, and Battle Creek areas and have been diagnosed with skin cancer or you think you may have it, please don’t hesitate to contact us today to schedule a consultation.