Let’s begin with the good news: many cancers are on the decline in this world. That is due largely to better cancer prevention, better diagnostic tools, and greater health advice reaching the public. Yet here we report an alarming trend among the most prevalent cancer in the world. Skin cancer is on the rise, dramatically.
Researchers found that the incidence of melanoma has escalated and people under 40 are hardest hit. While the rise in cases wasn’t surprising, the dramatic rise among women in their 20s and 30s was not expected. They found that skin cancer had increased eightfold among young women and fourfold among young men.
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The good news, though, is that fewer people are dying from melanoma — likely due to early detection of skin cancer and prompt medical care. People are generally more aware and head to the doctor when something is wrong with their skin.
They suspect that indoor tanning beds may be a major factor for young women. One study found that people who use them are 74% more likely to develop melanoma. There really is no reason to put oneself at such risk for a tan, which can be acquired safely and naturally by the sun in good weather. Like a cigarette, a tanning bed is carcinogenic.
Researchers went on to say that ultraviolet (UV) light exposure in adulthood can contribute to skin cancer. There remain some question marks among the public about obtaining the immensely important nutrient, vitamin D, from the sun — while understanding the risk of skin cancer. A good rule of thumb is that you can safely spend 20 minutes in direct sunlight (but not during the most intense periods of the day in the hottest months) without sunscreen and obtain all the vitamin D you’ll need for the day.
Outside of this, sunscreen is a must, as well as hats if you happen to have bald spots or thin hair. It is best to stay out of the intense UV times of about noon to 2 p.m. in summer months. One good tip on prevention is to assess yourself in the mirror every week or so and ensure any abnormalities get checked out by a doctor or dermatologist.