Many skin cancer survivors going unprotected, says study

Many skin cancer survivors going unprotected, says study

Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer. This year, the American Cancer Society estimates about 76,690 new melanomas will be diagnosed, killing nearly 9,480 people in the United States. The rates of this deadly cancer have been on the rise for at least 30 years.

But surprising data presented at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) this week, shows that 27 percent of melanoma survivors report not using sunscreen when outside for more than an hour, and more than 2 percent report still use tanning beds.

The data did reveal that melanoma survivors engage in “more sun protection practices” such as staying in the shade, wearing a protective hat, and wearing sunscreen as compared to those adults who reported no history of melanoma. However, 15 percent of melanoma survivors reported “rarely or never staying in the shade” when outside.

“This is a really surprising finding because we do know there’s an increased risk of second melanoma in patients who have had melanoma,” says Dr. Elizabeth Chung, an oncologist at Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, Ill. “Unprotected sun exposure and tanning beds increase the risk in contracting melanoma again. But it’s very important that everyone be vigilant about the risks of skin cancer and take precautions like avoiding tanning beds and wearing sunscreen when you are going to be outside for an extended amount of time.”

The results are based on a 2010 government health survey that included 27,120 U.S. adults, 171 of whom reported a history of melanoma.

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Comments

2 Comments

  1. Christine Zemovich Bon April 11, 2013 at 11:14 am · Reply

    As a melanoma skin cancer survivor, I will be sure to use the highest SPF possible in the summer months. I didn't know that my risks of having skin cancer again would be higher with sun exposure, so I appreciate the informative article. Thanks health enews team!!

  2. Ever since I had basel cell skin cancer, I always use a daily moisturizer with a SPF (the current one I use has a 24). When in the sun for fun, I always use a sun protectant now. Wish I knew then what I know now!!

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.