Protecting the skin from the sun should be considered a year-round necessity because our skin is constantly exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet rays and is thus susceptible to melanoma. However, it’s summertime, the season in which sun protection is viewed as most essential, so before heading out for some fun in the sun, take a closer look at these melanoma statistics.
The American Cancer Society (ACS) reports that “about 76,690 new melanomas will be diagnosed (about 45,060 in men and 31,630 in women) and about 9480 people are expected to die of melanoma (about 6280 men and 3200 women)” in 2013.1
According to the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the overall 5-year survival rate for melanoma is 91%, and some patients require only an initial surgery to remove the tumor.2 However, melanoma that has metastasized to other organs has a survival rate of only 15%.2
For patients with metastatic or unresectable melanoma, the drugs dabrafenib (Tafinlar) and trametinib (Mekinist) were approved by the US Food and Drug Administration on May 29, 2013.3
According to the Cancer.Net website, the first sign of melanoma is often a change in the color, feel, shape, or size of a mole on the skin.4 Monthly self-examinations of the skin can help detect this deadly disease at an early stage, allowing for a greater chance of survival, the ACS advises.5
The National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Trends Progress Report–2011/2012 Update states, “The percentage of adults who report being sunburned has increased since 2005,” however, by some measures “70% of adults…protect themselves from the sun.”6