Baltimore, MD (May 2, 2011) - Melanoma - a potentially deadly form of skin cancer - is on the rise, especially among young women according to the National Cancer Institute. Approximately 1,300 Marylanders and 68,000 people nationwide were diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer in 2010 says The American Cancer Society. As summer approaches, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) and the Center for a Healthy Maryland, part of the Maryland State Medical Society (MedChi), urge all Marylanders to use caution and common sense to protect their skin from harmful ultraviolet radiation, both real and artificial.
"Stocking up on sun screen and then using it regularly is a good start," says Frances Phillips, DHMH Deputy Secretary for Public Health. "It is extremely important to protect children from the sun with clothing or sunscreen. Do not ignore any spot or mole that is irregular, multicolored or changing. Early detection can save your skin and your life."
UV radiation from the sun and artificial tanning devices (tanning lamps and tanning booths) is the biggest risk factor for skin cancer. These risks can be reduced by avoiding tanning devices, limiting exposure to sunlight, especially between 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., wearing hats, clothing, and sunglasses with UV protection, and using sunscreens and lip balms with a SPF of 15 or higher when exposed to the sun-even in cloudy conditions.
Skin cancer - the most common form of cancer - includes melanoma, basal cell, and squamous cell cancers. Basal and squamous cell skin cancers are very common and rarely spread to other parts of the body. Melanoma skin cancers, are less common, but can spread to other parts of the body and account for 75% of skin cancer deaths.
Skin cancer affects all skin types; however, some skin types are more likely to be at risk of skin cancer. Fair skin or skin that burns easily with exposure to UV light is at highest risk. Other major risk factors for melanoma include having a history of childhood sunburn, certain types of moles, freckles, red or blond hair, and a personal or family history of skin cancer. People who notice spots on the skin or moles that are new or that change in size, shape, or color should see their doctor.
The Melanoma Monday event today is the kick-off of other statewide events and activities planned for Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month. The event included the presentation of the winners of the annual the SunGuard Your Skin Poster Contest.
To find out more about skin cancer prevention, please visit:
Maryland Skin Cancer Prevention Program www.sunguardman.org
American Cancer Society www.cancer.org
National Cancer Institute www.cancer.gov
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention www.cdc.gov
2011 SunGuard Your Skin Poster Contest Winners
K-2 Ann Sun, 2nd Grader, Lutherville Laboratory in Baltimore County
"I'm Strong Enough to Burn You! - I'm Safe!"
3-5 Michael Midkiff, 4th Grader, Ring Factory Elementary School in Harford County
"Wear Sunscreen - Kick Away Sunburns"
6-8 Kacie Neeb, 8th Grader, Sacred Heart School of Glyndon in Baltimore County
"Learn Not to Burn"
K-2 Ryan Snyder, Jr., Kindergartener, Hampton Elementary School in Baltimore County
"Please Wear Sunscreen, We Don't Want to Get Skin Cancer"
3-5 Jonathan Kaufman, 5th Grader, St. Margaret School in Harford County
"Sun Rays Cause Skin Cancer"
6-8 Aaron McNabney, 6th Grader, Midtown Academy in Baltimore City
"Got Sunscreen - Be Safe Be Sorry"
K-2 Colton Browning, 2nd Grader, Kitzmiller Elementary School in Garrett County
"Be Like SunGuard Man and Protect Yourself from the Sun"
3-5 Elias Dale, 3rd Grader, Kitzmiller Elementary School in Garrett County
"Get the Cream - Don't Scream!"
6-8 Taylor Andrews, 6th Grader, St Joan of Arc School in Harford County
"Use Sunscreen - SPF 75!"