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News From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention | July 28, 2015
Melanoma rates in the United States doubled between 1982 and 2011, when 65 647 cases were reported. Comprehensive skin cancer prevention programs, however, could prevent 230 000 new melanoma cases between 2020 and 2030, saving $2.7 billion in treatment costs.
According to data from CDC’s National Program of Cancer Registries and the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results Program, the incidence of melanoma increased from 11.2 cases per 100 000 population in 1982 to 22.7 cases per 100 000 in 2011, with mortality stable at about 9000 deaths annually (Guy Jr. GP et al. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2015;64:591-596).
Sunburn heightens the risk of melanoma, and nearly 40% of the US population becomes sunburned each year. In addition, nearly one-third of white women aged 16 to 25 years use indoor tanning facilities, which are estimated to cause more than 6000 melanoma cases yearly. The annual cost of treating new cases is projected to nearly triple from $457 million in 2011 to $1.6 billion in 2030.
Communities and policy makers can play an important role in preventing melanoma by increasing shade on playgrounds, at public pools, and other public spaces; promoting sun protection in recreational areas; encouraging employers, childcare centers, schools, and colleges to educate about sun safety and skin protection; and restricting the availability and use of indoor tanning by minors. Through the Affordable Care Act, people aged 10 to 24 years with fair skin also qualify for no-cost counseling about limiting their exposure to UV radiation.