Cases of melanoma have been rising in the past years. In 2009, it was estimated that about one out of 58 people will develop skin cancer during their lifetime. In 2016, the numbers went up to one in 54. In the same year, about 76,380 people were estimated to have been diagnosed with the disease.
This puts skin cancer as the number 1 type of cancer for Americans. Thankfully, most of these cases are treatable and can be removed. Melanomas, on the other hand, are more serious and can even be life-threatening. Though they are rarer, accounting for about 1% of skin cancer cases, they also comprise most of the deaths.
Troubling is the increase in numbers of early-stage melanomas or new cases that have normally not yet spread. From 1 of 78 people in 2009, the number of newly diagnosed went up to 1 out of 58 in 2016. While these early-stage skin cancer cases are rising, they are being detected and diagnosed earlier. Along with more early-stage cases, individuals with late-stage melanoma are also rising.
These invasive cases are not as easily cured as early-stage melanoma cases. This translates to 10,100 deaths from melanoma in 2016, higher than the estimated 8,650 deaths 7 years ago.
Specialists note the rise in early detection, which means more people are becoming aware of the symptoms of skin cancer and going to the doctor once they observe these symptoms. Unfortunately, the rise in cases is also due to certain lifestyle habits that can be avoided.
Despite the awareness of the risks of melanoma, many are still deciding to spend hours in the tanning salon and going sunbathing. With the ozone layer damage getting worse, it will be expected to see more cases of skin cancer in the future.
Mortality rates continue to be affected by bases with bigger and dangerous tumors, which have lower survival rates. Though melanomas can be treated if discovered early, later stages are harder to treat.
For individuals whose lifestyle or career includes a lot of exposure to the sun’s harmful rays, the increasing numbers are a warning to watch out for warning signs and early symptoms. Once they do, they should immediately consult their doctor to diagnose melanoma right away. After all, it is only with early detection that treatment can be most effective.
For others who can limit their exposure to harmful UV radiation, proper sun protection and avoidance can finally help lower the rate of skin cancer worldwide.
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