Preventing Melanoma Requires Year-round Vigilance

We are all pretty much aware of protecting our skin during the summer season, but the Centers for Disease Control wants us to know that preventing Melanoma is a year-round job.

The Centers for Disease Control recently published a report, “Melanoma Surveillance in the United States,” online at Adobe PDF file [PDF – 15.63MB]External Web Site Icon and appears in the November 2011 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. The supplement was developed in collaboration with the American Academy of Dermatology, the largest dermatology group in the United States.

“Melanoma is a devastating disease that takes an economic toll on individuals, their families, and society in terms of premature death and lost productivity,” said Marcus Plescia, M.D., M.P.H., director of CDC’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control.

“New policies and prevention strategies are needed to address the leading preventable causes of melanoma, enabling people to be healthier, live longer, and continue to be productive.”

Significant findings from articles included in CDC published report:

  • A study led by Xiao-Cheng Wu, M. D., M. P. H., New Orleans School of Public Health, examined racial and ethnic variations in melanoma incidence and survival and found that melanoma rates were higher among white females aged 50 and younger, Hispanic females aged 50 and younger, and Asian Pacific Islander females aged 40 and younger, compared to their male counterparts. This study also found that Hispanics, American Indian/Alaska Natives, and Asians were diagnosed with melanoma at younger ages than whites and blacks.
  • Hannah Weir, Ph. D., CDC, examined melanoma in adolescents and young adults, and found incidence was higher among females compared to males, increased with age, and was higher in non-Hispanic whites compared to Hispanic whites, blacks, American Indians/Alaskan Natives, and Asian and Pacific Islanders.
  • In 2005, 34 percent of adults had been sunburned in the past year, and in 2004, 69 percent of adolescents experienced sunburn the previous summer according to a study led by David Buller, Ph.D., Klein Buendel, Inc., which examined the prevalence of sunburn, sun protection, and indoor tanning behaviors.
  • A study led by Todd Cartee, M.D., Emory University, surveyed a small group of dermatologists and found that many were not aware of reporting requirements, although physicians are required by law to report melanomas to central cancer registries.

The CDC recommends that people take steps to protect themselves from Melanoma by:

  • Seeking shade, especially during midday hours.
  • Wearing clothing to protect exposed skin.preventing Melanoma
  • Wearing a hat with a wide brim to shade the face, head, ears, and neck.
  • Wearing sunglasses that wrap around and block as close to 100 percent of both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays as possible.
  • Using sunscreen with sun protective factor 15 or higher, and both UVA and UVB protection.
  • Avoiding indoor tanning.

For information about CDC’s efforts in skin cancer prevention, visit For more information from the American Academy of Dermatology on skin cancer, visit Web Site Icon. Podcasts about the supplement can be accessed at


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