Two new research studies published in the March issue of the Archives of Dermatology show that the incidence of non-melanoma skin cancer has steadily increased since the 1990’s, making it by far the most common form of cancer, affecting more people than all other cancers combined.
Results of that research show that non-melanoma skin cancers have struck five times as many people as breast or prostate cancer. More people have had non-melanoma skin cancer than all other cancers combined over the last 31 years. Most of those who had a non-melanoma skin cancer had more than one, with the average being 1.6 skin cancers per person. In fact, procedures to treat skin cancer have increased by nearly 77 percent between 1992 and 2006.
What is driving this explosion in skin cancer? As all those sun worshippers from the 1960’s, 1970’s and 1980’s get older, and their cumulative sun exposure racks up leading to more and more cases of skin cancer. Those people who grew up in the 1970s and 1980s when there was not a big sun-protection message out there are now coming into their 50s and 60s and are starting to develop skin cancers."
To lessen your chances of getting skin cancer, dermatologists recommend applying broad-spectrum sunscreen liberally and often; wearing hats and other protective clothing when out in the sun; avoiding sun exposure when the sun's rays are the strongest -- between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. -- and never using tanning beds.
It's especially important to take these steps with children and teens as skin cancers are now being seen in teens and young adults as well as older individuals. Also, if you are older and were one of those sun worshipers who believed the lie of a “healthy tan”, it is never too late to start protecting yourself. Cover up, wear sun screen and best of all – stay out of the sun!