Surveillance Data Guide Skin Cancer Prevention Efforts

State-level behavior and disease surveillance efforts often provide critical data to help community leaders decide how to prioritize community public health efforts. The skin cancer prevention efforts in the state of New Hampshire are one example of using surveillance data to inform community action.

Melanoma incidence rates in New Hampshire are consistently some of the highest in the country. For example, in 2015, New Hampshire had the third highest melanoma incidence rates compared to all other U.S. states. Additionally, about 12% of Hispanic and 9% of non-Hispanic white high school girls in New Hampshire reported indoor tanning in the past 12 months on the 2015 New Hampshire Youth Risk Behavior Survey.

Realizing the critical need to reduce exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays among state residents, and to reduce tanning behaviors among adolescents, the New Hampshire Comprehensive Cancer Collaboration supported a number of skin cancer prevention efforts. High school forums were held to raise awareness of the dangers of tanning. A partnership with IMPACT Melanomaexternal icon led to the implementation of the “Your Skin is In” programexternal icon and “Teens on Tanning” forums at high-risk high schools. A new lawexternal icon to prohibit use of indoor tanning among minors in New Hampshire went into effect January 1, 2016.

New Hampshire will continue to monitor the use of indoor tanning and the prevalence of sunburn among youth and adults in the state and support prevention activities through the Comprehensive Cancer Collaboration and various local initiatives.