U.S. melanoma rates double, CDC wants better prevention

According to recently obtained statistics, the number of melanoma patients in the United States has become two times of what it was three decades before. Experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are saying that the number will keep on increasing unless people succeed in minimizing their exposure to harmful ultraviolet rays.

According to Prof. Robin Harris, the co-director of the Skin Cancer Institute at the University of Arizona Cancer Center, it is becoming difficult to control the disease as sunbathers i.e. individuals who spend hours in the sun to get bronzed skin are in absolute denial of the dangerous effects of ultraviolet rays. Prof. Harris also teaches epidemiology at the university.

In over 90% cases of melanomas, patients develop the disease after incurring skin-cell damage from exposure to ultraviolet radiation; and on most occasions the ultraviolet radiation has its source in sun rays.


Harris stated that in spite of such rapid rise in the number of melanoma cases a large number of people still prefer to believe such things won’t happen to me and there’s no need of worrying about something like melanoma.

Tara Beye, a 42 year woman in Arizona, was one of those people who had never dreamt of developing melanoma, the most severe form of skin cancer. So, she was left shell-shocked when in 2003 doctors informed that the mole on her left arm was actually caused by melanoma.

According to Beye, she like many of others of her time had never heard the term “sunblock” and was pretty comfortable going out in the sun after putting some baby oil on her skin as that used to give her a perfect tan.


After being diagnosed with melanoma, she underwent multiple treatments and surgeries during a short span of 12 weeks. However, those procedures couldn’t stop the cancer from spreading to other parts of Beye’s body including her pancreas and lymph nodes. At present, she receives immunotherapy at the Goodyear-based Cancer Treatment Centers of America. Immunotherapy is a therapeutic procedure that makes use of the patient’s own immune system to fight the disease he or she is suffering from.

Surprise diagnosis of melanoma turned Beye into a strict advocate of skin cancer prevention. The latest report published by the CDC also indicates that the only way of reversing melanoma rates in the country is by focusing more on the prevention efforts. Medical experts are predicting that the next 15 years will witness surfacing of 112,000 new melanoma cases if proper preventive measures are not taken.


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