Beacon Transcript – Melanoma cases and death numbers have been seen to decrease in the Northeast and defy nationwide trends, according to a new study .
Malignant melanoma or just simply melanoma is a form of cancer. It develops based on melanocytes. These are cells containing pigments. As such, most melanoma cases develop into skin cancer.
Ultraviolet light exposure has been deemed as the primary cause of melanoma cases. Exposure to UV light is especially dangerous to people with a low level of skin pigmentation.
Protection methods have been made available. The most common one is using sunscreen. Still, melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer. It is more common in men than in women.
A new study has gone to research its United States outspread. As such, both melanoma cases and death rates were studied.
The research team came from the Denver Veterans Affairs Medical Center. They were led by Doctor Robert Dellavalle. Study results were released earlier this week. They were published in the JAMA Dermatology.
It was titled as follows. “Comparison of Regional and State Differences in Melanoma Rates in the United States”.
CDC data was used in carrying out the study. This targeted the melanoma cases and deaths from 2003 to 2013. The CDC or Center for Disease Control and Prevention offered state-wise incidence and death rates.
However, not all the states offered information. For example, there was no available data for Nevada. As it is, the research noted a decline in the disease rates in 11 states.
In contrast, a further 38 states saw an increase in melanoma rates. Out of the 11 states to have marked a decline, 5 were in the Northeast. More Exactly, in the New England region. Maine was the only one out the region’s six states to have marked an increase.
Melanoma diagnosis rates have marked a nationwide increase. This was determined by an increased awareness of the disease. The study authors credit such awareness methods as the reason for the decline.
New England has been reported to have quite a strong prevention program. The area has some well-established awareness and protection programs.
One of the perhaps best known was initiated by a non-profit. The Melanoma Foundation of New England succeeded in establishing new regulations. These ensure that public and recreational areas should have sunscreen dispensers.
Melanoma cases have seen a steady increase over these past few years. As compared to 2003, their incidence has mostly increased. The study found that most of the studied Midwestern states saw such a rise.
The South and West also saw an increase in cases. However, the death rates were also seen to vary. Previous estimates show that about 9,000 people die each year of melanoma.
The American Cancer Society also released an estimate. They predict that by the time 2016 will have ended, 76,000 more Americans will have been diagnosed with melanoma.
Still, an early diagnosis is an important factor. In such cases, it is almost always treatable and curable. However, if the cancer is not detected, it can lead to further complications. For example, it can spread to other body parts. As such, it could also become harder to treat.
The CDC has issued a series of prevention measures. These include both melanoma cases and skin cancer in general. CDC guidelines advise against using indoor tanning.
They also suggest limiting skin UV exposure and keeping in the shade. Applying sunscreen is also strongly advised. A 15 or higher SPF is recommended.
The American Skin Cancer Foundation also points out the need for a yearly skin contact. A monthly head to toe skin check-up is also recommended.
People should immediately consult their physicians if they notice suspicious moles. These can be either asymmetrical or they can have a changing shape or uneven borders.
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