Surgeon General issues call to action to slow alarming trend
Written by Taylor Smith | Healthy-Mag.com
The Surgeon General of the United States recently issued a call to do more to prevent a disease that affects nearly 5 million people a year in the United States and many more worldwide. According to the Surgeon General, skin cancer poses an immediate health risk that requires immediate intervention.
“Until today, the surgeon general has never said, ‘UV radiation is bad for you; protect your skin,'” acting Surgeon General Dr. Boris Lushniak said.
In light of this warning, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is setting five goals for communities in the hopes that we can all slow the rising rate of skin cancer. Some of these goals include providing more shade at parks, schools and other public places. Perhaps the most important goal is to reduce indoor tanning, especially among younger people.
“We have to change the social norms about tanning,” Lushniak said. “Tanned skin is damaged skin, and we need to shatter the myth that tanned skin is a sign of health.”
According to the American Cancer Society, Melanoma accounts for only 2% of skin cancer cases but is responsible for the majority of skin cancer deaths, More than 63,000 cases of melanoma are diagnosed in the United States every year, ultimately causing over 9,000 deaths.
From 1973 to 2011, melanoma rates increased more than 200%, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. The National Cancer Institute reported that melanoma is the most common form of cancer in adults ages 25 to 29 and second most common for young adults aged 15 to 29.
Raising awareness about skin cancer is only the first step. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that anyone spending extended amounts of time outside at least wear a hat, sunglasses and whatever protective clothing and sunscreen is available.