Melanoma Rates Rise Dramatically Among Kids and Young Adults

skinThe incidence of melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer, has increased by more than 250 percent among American children, adolescents and young adults since 1973, according to award-winning new research by Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI).

Scientists analyzed more than 35,000 cases of melanoma and determined that the number of cases diagnosed in children, adolescents and young adults rose by 253 percent from 1973 to 2011. Today, it’s the third most common cancer in people ages 15 to 39.

Young women appear to be at particular risk, which may be due to certain risk factors such as tanning behaviors and sunbathing. Young women made up 57 percent of reported cases from 1973 to 1980 and 65.2 percent of reported cases from 2001 to 2011.

On a more positive note, survival rates also have increased — from 80 percent for the period 1973-1980 to 95 percent in 2011. But the rising rates of melanoma shouldn’t be taken lightly. It’s estimated that 1 in 50 Americans will develop this type of skin cancer in their lifetime. And on average, one American dies from melanoma every hour.

Tips to Help Prevent Melanoma

There are many known risk factors for melanoma, some genetic and some behavioral:

  • Avoid tanning beds
  • Do self-exams and get examined by a dermatologist
  • Wear protective clothing in the sun
  • Seek shade at times

Also, be sure to wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, and take extra care with kids. Getting a severe sunburn during childhood may increase the risk of melanoma later in life, so it’s especially important to protect kids from the sun. California Baby and California Kids broad-spectrum sunscreens are made from natural ingredients like non-whitening titanium dioxide and have won multiple awards. Find out more and buy them here.

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