In the United States there are over 5.4 million cases of non-melanoma skin cancer treated in more than 3.3 million people. In 2014, Bermuda saw a 12% higher rate of skin cancer compared to the United States.
(Please bear that in mind when reading this that according to Bermuda Cancer and Health Centre. Currently the statistics in Bermuda are not very accurate as cases are mostly treated overseas and doctors here are not required to report diagnoses, so this figure could be higher.)
Over the past three decades, more people have had skin cancer than all other cancers combined; and if that isn’t scary, one in five people will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime.
There are three main types of skin cancer the most common are non-melanoma skin cancers: Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), the third type is rarer Malignant Melanoma.
Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common form of skin cancer it can appear anywhere on your body but mainly those parts exposed to the sun, while squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is the second most common form. They can be cured in almost every case if caught early enough, don’t get complacent though as the figures quoted for the US say 2% of patients diagnosed with SCC died and although BCC is rarely fatal 3000 patients die annually from advanced BCC.
90% of non-melanoma skin cancers are associated with exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.…food for thought are you protecting yourself enough?
Melanoma skin cancers, although less common, has the higher rate of cancer related deaths and 86% of the cases are due to UV exposure. What is even more alarming is that your risk of developing melanoma doubles with 5 or more sunburns. In children, 5 or more sunburns increases their risk of melanoma by 80%! If that doesn’t make you get serious about your child’s sun exposure, listen to this…Melanoma is nine times more common in 10-20 year olds than birth to 10 year olds. Another statistic, that even had us surprised, 6.5% of paediatric cancers happens in non-Caucasians, which is a higher percentage than that of adults.
Don’t think your ethnicity can’t be affected by sun damage! While black people only have melanoma incident rate of 1 in 100,000 compared to whites with 25 per 100,000, the 5-year survival rate is only 70%compared to 93% in whites. Most melanoma cases in darker-pigment skin tones often are found on the non-exposed skin, such as the palms, soles, mucous membranes and nail beds. If diagnosed too late, the cancer is frequently fatal in these populations.
Because sun damage accumulates over time, it is never too late to start a sun protection regime. To help stop, or reverse sun damage, be sure to use a sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher (we recommend going higher especially if you are an at risk skin type). By reducing your sun exposure daily, it gives your skin time to heal and your immune system time to repair the damage already done.
If you have any concerns about skin cancer please do not wait to go to your doctors for advice they would prefer you to go with a false alarm and get checked out rather wait too long!