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What's Up Magazine

Are We Getting the Skin Cancer Message? Apparently Not

Jun 29, 2015 12:16PM ● By Cate Reynolds
In Britain, fair skin is as ubiquitous as royalty, soccer hooligans, and movie actor villains. So it’s a natural spot for skin cancer studies. Studies that have taken a very disturbing turn.

New figures released by Cancer Research UK state that people over the age of 65 in Briton are approximately seven times more likely to develop malignant melanoma, compared to 40 years ago. These stats illustrate that our love of the sun still outweighs our use of sunblock...or shade.

Figures on this side of the Atlantic bear out the continuing threat of skin cancer, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.

• Each year in the U.S., nearly 5 million people are treated for skin cancer. In 2006, in the most recent study available, 3.5 million cases were diagnosed in 2.2 million people. 

• Each year there are more new cases of skin cancer than the combined incidence of cancers of the breast, prostate, lung, and colon.

• Treatment of non melanoma skin cancers in the U.S. increased by nearly 77 percent between 1992 and 2006.

• Over the past three decades, more people have had skin cancer than all other cancers combined.

• One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime.

• Between 40 and 50 percent of Americans who live to age 65 will have either Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) or Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) at least once. Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer; an estimated 2.8 million are diagnosed annually in the U.S. BCCs are rarely fatal, but can be highly disfiguring if allowed to grow. Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common form of skin cancer. An estimated 700,000 cases of SCC are diagnosed each year in the US.

The incidence of squamous cell carcinoma has been rising, with increases up to 200 percent over the past three decades in the U.S.


Bottom Line: Wear a hat, long sleeves, and lather up with SPF. You’ll live longer and look a lot better.