The Increasing Danger of Melanoma
No matter where you live in the U.S., one thing is likely sure: this summer is already hot! We’ve written about sun safety in the past, but today we should talk about an even more serious hazard. Keep reading to explore the increasing danger of melanoma.
What is the Danger of Melanoma?
According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, melanoma is a serious threat. Put plainly, it occurs when the pigment-producing cells that give color to the skin become cancerous. In fact, it is often considered the most dangerous form of skin cancer.
The symptoms of melanoma can include a new, unusual growth or a change in an existing mole. Melanomas can occur anywhere on the body. On average, its cost for treatment has grown faster than the annual treatment costs for all cancers combined. In fact, treatment ranges from medication all the way to surgery, radiation or even chemotherapy.
Unfortunately, the danger of melanoma is only increasing. Each year, it causes the deaths of more than 9,000 Americans. Beyond this, the reports of new cases doubled from 1982 to 2011. To date, an estimated 21,000 new melanoma cases are reported each year.
More Than a Sunburn
In the summer, extreme sunburns are a serious concern. As we’ve seen, the danger of melanoma is much greater than a sunburn. However, tans and sunburns are at the root of this concern. You see, they are the cause of most melanoma cases. Even though many people sunbathe in order to get a visibly appealing tan, it is important to remember that both tans and sunburns are signs of sun damaged skin.
While the sun is dangerous, indoor tanning beds can be even more intense. These devices expose the user to more UV rays than sunbathing outdoors. The CDC estimates that indoor tanning beds cause over 6,000 melanoma cases each year.
Who Is Most at Risk?
Now, as we explained earlier, the danger of melanoma is much more than the pain of a sunburn. In fact, as we age, the risk of death from melanoma increases. Additionally, the rates are higher for men than women.
So why is this a topic on a child safety blog? Because it is still important to remember that everyone is at risk. After all, it only takes a few serious sunburns to increase your child’s risk of skin cancer later in life. Now is the time to take action to protect your child’s skin, and instill healthy habits. As we’ve seen in the previous section, the dangers of melanoma are nothing to take lightly. That’s true no matter your age, but as always, be sure to take extra care of little ones and their extra-sensitive skin.
To start, children should absolutely avoid indoor tanning beds. For kids under six months, the best advice is to keep them out of the sun as much as possible. When older, use a proper SPF 30-50, water resistant sunscreen lotion. Don’t forget to apply and reapply it during the day.
Additionally, remember to stay hydrated and take frequent breaks. This is great for conserving water and energy. Plus, it helps to get kids out of the direct rays of the sun. Next, be sure that they wear a hat to cover their head. Besides the increasing danger of melanoma cases, there is always general sun safety to consider.