Posted by: yourhealthradio | May 3, 2011

Are you young, female and wealthy? Do you want to get melanoma?

Melanoma is the most lethal form of skin cancer.  It is also a subject close to our hearts because at a young age,the disease took the life of Cristy’s father.

In the past 3 decades the number of adolescents and young adults affected by melanoma has more than doubled.  Who and what could be to blame for such a drastic increase in such a preventable disease?

The Archives of Dermatology did an important study looking at melanoma rates and socioeconomic (income, education, etc.) status. The study showed that adolescent girls and young women who were living in wealthy communities in California were more likely to be diagnosed with melanoma, compared to others who were not white and had a lower socioeconomic status.  In the wealthiest 20% of California neighborhoods, melanoma rates were significantly higher than in non-wealthy neighborhoods.  It looks like (though they can’t prove this) these  young, wealthy, white women were choosing to get out into the sun more, taking longer tropical vacations and maybe frequenting tanning beds.  The saddest part is that these women were ages 15-39, much too young to get such a deadly disease .

If any good news has come of this situation it’s that there has been increased regulation of tanning beds by state legislatures; at least 32 states now regulate tanning beds for minors. Does your state require those going to tanning beds to be a minimum age and have consent from parents?  This is a crucial step in melanoma prevention since tanning beds are said to put people at 75% higher risk of developing melanoma. We also need to educate that tanning is not cool, but rather, it is deadly.

To protect yourself from melanoma you should stay out of the sun during peak hours of 10 am-4 pm, wear protective clothing, use broad spectrum sunscreen , and apply it liberally and frequently when in the direct sun (even on cloudy days).

For more information on making sure you’re staying protected in the sun:

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