Utahns need to be more self-conscious about their sun exposure as the state has 41.2 new skin cancer cases per 100,000 people, according to 2016 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
If you’re recently diagnosed with skin cancer, treatment in Salem and other smaller cities may be more affordable. While your location plays a role in treatment expenses, early detection is also important to limit associated costs. Late diagnosis for an advanced stage of skin cancer will be more expensive.
How Common is Skin Cancer?
Melanoma and non-melanoma cases comprise the two common types of skin cancer. The diagnostic rate for melanoma is much lower, but so is the survival rate. Utah had 37% more cases of new melanoma patients that the U.S. average between 2001 and 2005. This type of cancer claimed 60 lives every year during the same period.
CDC said that melanoma ranked as the third leading cause of cancer diagnoses in the state, just behind breast cancer and prostate cancer. Those who were born in 2005 onwards are more at risk of developing the disease. At least one out 55 people from the age group could be diagnosed with melanoma.
Why Sunscreen is Important Year-Round
Most people think that they don’t need to wear sunscreen if the sky is cloudy, or when it’s cold outside during the day. However, this misconception contributed to the state’s higher skin cancer rate than elsewhere in the country. You might think about those who live in sunny states are more vulnerable, but the same people are more diligent with using sunscreen daily.
Why should people still wear sunscreen even during winter? Well, the sun is closest to the Earth in the winter, particularly in the mid-season months. It may not be bright outside, but that doesn’t mean that UVB and UVA rays can’t deal significant damage. UVB rays are responsible for sunburns and they are weaker during winter, but UVA rays that cause premature aging remain strong at any time of the year.
Men Are More at Risk
According to the CDC, men are more prone to skin cancer because many of them spend time outdoors because of their jobs. Construction workers, for instance, are continually exposed to sunlight. Women are still vulnerable, although they are keener on using sun protection than men. Only 15% of men wear sunscreen as opposed to 30% of women based on CDC reports.
You should still use sunscreen even when staying at home, as UVA rays can penetrate through glass. Wear a wide-brimmed hat when your job requires you to spend time outside. If possible, avoid staying under the sun between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. when the sun is at its strongest.
Limited sun exposure, a healthy diet and wearing sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 remain the best preventive measures against skin cancer. You should see a dermatologist at least once a year for a skin check. No amount of self-diagnosis and online research can substitute for a doctor’s exam.