The incidence of skin cancer is increasing. And this increase is not only due to better screening and diagnostic techniques. The threat is real and not just an artefact of better technology, according to researchers at the Stanford University Medical Center in California.
This rise of skin cancer incidence has been reported both in the US and Europe. In the US, the increase is on average, 3.1% each year, from 1992 to 2004.
The Stanford researchers argue that improved screening methods will detect more skin tumors which are thinner and most likely to be benign, the kind that were easily missed before the new methods were introduced. However,
Another indication of skin cancer increase is the fact that the rise is evident in all socioeconomic groups, not only among those who belong to higher income groups in the US and therefore have better access to health care and insurance coverage.
The findings of the two studies indicate that skin cancer is indeed on the rise.
Skin cancer incidence reports are quite controversial, because the disease is closely associated to exposure to the sun. In recent years, there is a rapid increase in vitamin D deficiency the world over because people tend to avoid sun exposure for fear of skin cancer. However, vitamin D deficiency has been linked to a variety to chronic conditions, including cardiovascular problems, osteoporosis, neurodegenerative disorders, as well as pregnancy complications.
According to lead researcher Eleni Linos
“Over the past 100 years, people are really changing the amount of time they spend in the sun, the clothes they wear, and whether their hobbies and work are indoor or outdoor.” This has been confounded by the thinning of the ozone layer which led to “increased exposure to ultraviolet light or a longer-term increase in the genetic susceptibility to cancer.”
According to the Medline Medical Encyclopedia,
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. The two most common types are basal cell cancer and squamous cell cancer. They usually form on the head, face, neck, hands and arms. Another type of skin cancer, melanoma, is more dangerous but less common.
- skin cancer commonly occurs in people who
- have light-colored skin, hair and eyes
- are older than 50 years old
- family history of skin cancer
- spend a lot of time outdoors in the sun.
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