Skin cancer statistics rise

Published 5:01 pm Monday, May 19, 2008

By Staff
Did you know that one in five Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer in their lifetime?  Surprisingly, melanoma is on the rise in our country, particularly among young people.  Sadly, people don't always realize this disease can be life threatening.   
In 2008, 62,480 Americans will be diagnosed with melanoma with 8,420 people dying from the disease.    
There are three simple steps to reduce your risk for skin cancer.
First, start early.  It is never too early to teach a child about sun protection, and to protect them from the harmful rays of the sun.  If you are a parent, grandparent, or caregiver, you have the unique ability to instill healthy habits to protect them for life.
Secondly, never stop taking care of your skin.
It is important to protect yourself from harmful UV rays even as an adult. Dermatologist Dr. Daryl Rigel says “simple behavioral changes can make a big difference” in your risk for skin cancer, as sun exposure is linked to most cases.  
Also, be sure to have your skin checked by a dermatologist annually.  Dr. Rigel suggests that your birthday should be a reminder to have your “birthday suit” checked!
Finally, know this: a family history of skin cancer raises the risk for skin cancer for all members of the family.
Be sure to tell your health professional if someone in your family is diagnosed with cancer. He or she may recommend more frequent screenings. Enjoy the warm weather the summertime brings, but don't forget to follow these tips and save your skin. For more information, visit
Mary Sessions is the spouse of Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and is a member of Congressional Families Cancer Prevention Program of the Prevent Cancer Foundation.

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