In the past decade, the number of new invasive cases of melanoma diagnosed each year has increased by 31%. Meanwhile, melanoma-related deaths are expected to rise by nearly 7% in 2022 alone, with no signs of slowing down.
One of the most significant contributing factors to these alarming trends is climate change, as experts warn that global warming and ozone depletion lead to the sun’s UV rays penetrating the Earth’s surface with increasing intensity, ultimately causing greater harm to our skin.
At Dignity Health – Northridge Hospital Medical Center (NHMC), oncologists at the Leavey Cancer Center recognize the devastating impact climate change has on skin cancer incidence and mortality, reflected by melanoma becoming the most common cancer in the US.
“Every day, nearly 10,000 Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer, with more than two people dying each hour,” says Dr. Sidney Stoll, oncologist at NHMC. “It’s so important that we all take the necessary precautions to help prevent the dangerous effects of UV rays on our bodies, while doing our part to minimize exposure to these harmful rays.”
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, over 9,500 Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer every day, with one in four developing skin cancer by the age of 70. As the effects of climate change continue to worsen, Stoll recommends educating ourselves on the safety measures we can take to minimize the risk, while still enjoying the outdoors.
“Some ways we can help reduce the risk of developing skin cancer include using sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher, limiting our outdoor time during the peak sun hours, wearing protective clothing while outside and making an annual appointment with a dermatologist to ensure your skin health is optimal,” said Stoll.