Here at Abraham Family Medicine, we hope that everyone is having a great summer. We understand that the summer season is a very popular time to be outside taking in the beautiful weather. However, it’s important to remember to enjoy your fun in the sun safely. Too much sun exposure can negatively affect your skin and increase your risk of developing skin cancer. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the US and its leading cause is overexposure to the sun’s powerful UV rays. To help our readers achieve a greater understanding of the impact of skin cancer for people of all ages, here are some statistics from the American Academy of Dermatology to consider:
- According to estimates, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime.
- There are more people diagnosed with skin cancer each year in the US than all other types of cancer combined.
- Roughly 9,500 people in the US are diagnosed with skin cancer each day.
- Forms of nonmelanoma skin cancer (including basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma) affect more than 5 million Americans annually.
- Basal cell carcinoma, the most common form of skin cancer, accounts for 4.3 million cases and more than 3,000 deaths each year.
- Squamous cell carcinoma accounts for about 1 million cases and more than 15,000 deaths each year.
- An estimated 178,560 cases of melanoma will be diagnosed in the US this year.
- 87,290 of these cases will be noninvasive (confined to the top layer of skin) and 91,270 cases will be invasive (penetrating the epidermis into the skin’s second layer).
- Since 2008, the number of new melanoma cases diagnosed annually has increased by 53%.
- It is estimated that one American dies from melanoma every hour.
- A person’s risk of developing melanoma doubles if he or she has had more than five sunburns in their lifetime.
- Melanoma incidence rates are higher in women than in men before age 50, however, men have nearly double the risk by age 65.
- The five-year survival rate for people with melanoma is 99% if the cancer is detected and treated before it spreads to the lymph nodes.
- The estimated annual cost of treating skin cancers in the US is over $8 billion.
Although the prevalence of skin cancer can seem frightening, it can be effectively treated when it is detected in its early stages. This is why regular skin cancer screenings are so important. During your screening, we will examine the skin as well as any growths, moles, and dry patches, to identify any potentially cancerous or pre-cancerous growths. If anything suspicious is found, we will perform a biopsy to confirm a skin cancer diagnosis. Since a change in a previous growth or mole is one of the most helpful indicators of skin cancer, we highly recommend that patients schedule their annual skin cancer screening appointment and perform regular self-examinations to keep tabs on any irregularities.
Thankfully, experts consider almost 90% of all skin cancer cases to be preventable. While we wouldn’t recommend anyone to avoid the sun entirely this summer, it’s important to wear sunscreen daily (especially during the summer) and take the necessary precautions to reduce your risk of sun damage and skin cancer. For more information on skin cancer or general health and wellness, please contact Abraham Family Medicine today to schedule an appointment. Our office is located in Snellville, not far from Grayson, Dacula, and Lilburn.