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Announcements: Skin Cancer Awareness Month — May 2012

May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month, a time to increase awareness of the importance of the prevention, early detection, and treatment of skin cancer. Each year, approximately 2 million persons in the United States are diagnosed with nonmelanoma skin cancers (mostly basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas) (1). Although death rates from nonmelanoma skin cancers are low, these cancers can cause damage and disfigurement if left untreated. Malignant melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer. In 2008, the most recent year for which data are available, 59,695 U.S. adults were diagnosed with melanoma, and 8,623 died from the disease (2).

Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation and a history of sunburn are preventable risk factors for skin cancer. CDC recommends several ways for persons to protect themselves from UV radiation: seek shade, especially during midday hours; wear clothing to protect exposed skin; wear a hat with a wide brim to shade the face, head, ears, and neck; wear sunglasses; use sunscreen that has a sun protection factor of 15 or higher and has both UVA and UVB protection; and avoid indoor tanning. Additional information about skin cancer is available at www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin.

References

  1. Rogers HW, Weinstock MA, Harris AR, et al. Incidence estimate of nonmelanoma skin cancer in the United States, 2006. Arch Dermatol 2010;146:283–7.
  2. CDC. United States cancer statistics: 1999–2008 (incidence and mortality). WONDER online database. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC; 2012. Available at http://wonder.cdc.gov/cancer.html. Accessed May 1, 2012.

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