Skin cancer rates have been increasing steadily in the United States. We asked cancer researcher DeAnn Lazovich to explain the increase in melanoma, the deadliest kind of skin cancer.
“75 percent or more of all skin cancer deaths are related to melanoma, one cancer that is largely preventable. The reason the trends are increasing is due to excessive time spent in the sun and, more recently, the use of tanning beds.”
Lazovich points to a number of things that put people at risk for melanoma. “There are risk factors you inherit like eye color, skin color, and lighter hair color — and you’re born with that. But there are modifiable risk factors we’re talking about exposure to ultraviolet radiation, particularly the type of sun exposure that leads to sunburn.”
She says you can protect yourself in a number of ways when in the sun, including:
- Wear protective clothing, such as shirts with long sleeves, and a hat that covers your face
- Use a sunscreen with a SPF of 30 or higher
- Avoid tanning beds
“Ultraviolet radiation emitted from tanning beds is actually stronger than the sun and that might be one reason why we now know it increases the risk of melanoma,” Lazovich says.