Skin Cancer Rates Rising
From 2000 to 2010, rates of non-melanoma skin cancer—basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma—increased 263 percent and 145 percent respectively, according to a recent report from the Mayo Clinic. Women between the ages of 30 and 49 experienced the greatest increase in basal cell carcinoma diagnoses, while women aged 40-59 and 70-79 experienced the highest increase in squamous cell carcinomas. Men experienced a slight decline in squamous cell carcinomas, but an increase in basal cell carcinomas.
For the study, researchers compared skin cancer data from 2000-2010 to two earlier time periods—1976-1984 and 1985-1992. Exposure to UV rays—from the sun or artificial sources like tanning beds—increases skin cancer risk and the damage accumulates over time.
Tanning—on the beach, in the backyard, or in the booth—has led to an increase in skin cancer of the torso, arms, and legs. In the past, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma were more commonly found on the head and neck. It’s important to reduce exposure to harmful UV rays—which reach the ground even on cloudy days—by regularly wearing sunscreen on all exposed areas of skin.
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