U.S. Surgeon General releases national Call to Action to Prevent - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

U.S. Surgeon General releases national Call to Action to Prevent Skin Cancer as 230 people in Indiana will die from melanoma this year

INDIANAPOLIS - It may be cool, but we're still seeing some sunshine, and you still need to wear that sun screen.

This year in Indiana, more than 1,550 new cases of melanoma will be diagnosed and approximately 230 will die from the disease. Nationwide, it is estimated that more than 76,000 people will be diagnosed with melanoma this year, and nearly 10,000 people will die from it. According to the surgeon general’s report, each year in the United States, nearly five million people are treated for all types of skin cancer at an estimated annual cost of $8.1 billion.

Because of stats like that, Tuesday, July 29th, outlining a plan to reduce the toll of skin cancer and save lives. The plan will support more Americans in making healthy choices about protecting their skin. Indiana has an opportunity to implement the Call to Action locally by passing a comprehensive law restricting the use of indoor tanning devices by all minors.

Brianna Herndon, Indiana Government Relations Director for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action network says The good news is that most skin cancers are preventable. For the first time, the U.S. Surgeon General has called for national action to fight the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States. Despite widespread education efforts about sun safety and increased awareness about the importance of using sunscreen and avoiding indoor tanning devices, skin cancer diagnoses and deaths continue to increase. By bringing national attention to this growing public health crisis, the U.S. Surgeon General is calling on all of us to reinvigorate the fight against skin cancer.”

During the 2014 legislative session, the Indiana General Assembly passed a law that prohibits minors under age 16 from using tanning beds. However, individuals under age 18 can still use indoor tanning devices with parental permission.

To date, nine states have already passed comprehensive laws which restrict minors’ use of tanning devices, and many other states are considering similar legislation. States that have indoor tanning laws have lower teen tanning rates than states without such laws.

In the United States, the incidence of melanoma – the deadliest form of skin cancer – is increasing rapidly in teens and young adults. It is now the fourth most common form of cancer for individuals ages 15 to 29.

People under the age of 18 are particularly at risk for the damages associated with ultraviolet radiation and exposure, since their skin is not fully developed, and their skin cells are dividing and changing more rapidly than those of adults. Research shows that those who use tanning devices before age 35 increase their risk of developing melanoma by 59 percent. 

ACS CAN, the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, supports evidence-based policy and legislative solutions designed to eliminate cancer as a major health problem. ACS CAN works to encourage elected officials and candidates to make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer with the training and tools they need to make their voices heard. For more information, visit http://www.acscan.org/.

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