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Melanoma Skin Cancer Cases Spike

Updated:
An alarming jump in the number of deadly skin cancer cases is prompting
the U.S. Surgeon General to issue a new warning: stop tanning and
protect yourself from the sun.

An unexpected scare is what Pam
Deppe experienced six years ago, when she found a spot on her arm that
turned out to be melanoma.

"It could've been much worse," she
recalls. A doctor surgically removed the spot, along with tissue around
it. Deppe is now cancer-free.

"The care of this is ongoing for
the rest of my life.. not only for skin care but to watch for the
recurrence of melanoma," Deppe said.

Melanoma is third most
common type of skin cancer; but the deadliest, claiming 9,000 lives a
year. The acting U.S. Surgeon General is citing an alarming 200 percent
jump in the number of deadly melanoma cases diagnosed since 1973.

"I don't think people know how deadly it can be," Deppe said.

A
new report says nearly 5 million people in the U.S. are treated for all
forms of skin cancer each year at a cost of $8 billion. Doctors say
most melanoma cases now a days, are directly related to sunlight and
ultraviolet light exposure.

SIU School of Medicine Dr. Stephen Stone says skin cancer rates won't change until American attitudes about sun worshiping do.

"It's
very frustrating because we talk to patients with sunburns, rich
tans... I used to say a beautiful tan but I don't now because it's not
beautiful anymore... it's in some ways life-threatening," Stone said.

An
avid indoor and outdoor tanner when she was younger, Deppe now wishes
she could go back. "For the fleeting moment of having the golden tan, it
just wasn't worth now the years of what I have to go through and put my
family and friends through," she said.

Dr. Stone recommends
three things to prevent skin cancer: use sunscreen on a regular basis,
wear a broad-brimmed hat when outside and try to stay out of the sun
during peak hours of sunlight.

Melanoma Skin Cancer Cases Spike


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