What is Melanoma? [3D Interactive]
Dreaming of summer beach trips and days out in the sun? Don’t forget to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays! Although other cancer rates in the U.S. are flat or declining, new cases of melanoma continue to rise by about 3% each year.
Melanoma (the most dangerous type of skin cancer) is caused by the uncontrolled growth of abnormal melanocytes—pigment-producing cells that give skin its color. While melanoma risk can be inherited through genetic mutations, it is largely influenced by environmental factors, such as sun exposure and ultra-violet (UV) radiation.
One avoidable source of UV radiation is indoor tanning, where the beds, lamps, and booths directly expose the user to UV rays that are similar to, or stronger than, those of the sun.
-15 minutes in a tanning bed or booth is equal to an entire day at the beach.
-Each year, indoor tanning beds may cause as many as 400,000 new cases of skin cancer and 6,000 new cases of melanoma.
-Melanoma is the second most common cancer in people aged 25-29.
-It is estimated that 1 in every 50 Americans will be diagnosed with melanoma.
-Early detection of melanoma can significantly reduce morbidity and mortality.
To reduce your risk of melanoma, avoid tanning beds and protect yourself from harmful UV rays with sunscreen or a wide-brimmed hat.
References: Skin Cancer Foundation and Melanoma Foundation New England