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Experts Say Melanoma Likely To Affect 91,000 This Year: Here’s How You Can Protect Your Skin

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Melanoma is the most aggressive form of skin cancer. It accounts for 1 percent of skin cancer-related deaths and could affect tens of thousands more this year.

The American Cancer Society said about 91,270 people are expected to be diagnosed with melanoma for 2018, as the cases have been rising for the past 30 years.

ACM said about 55,150 males and 36,120 females are likely to be diagnosed. As with the mortality rate, the organization said 9,320 people are expected to die of melanoma.

Who Are At Risk For Melanoma?

Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that is most common among white people.

Cancers have different risk factors. As with melanoma, a person's exposure to ultraviolet rays — which come from sunlight — moles, skin color, freckling, hair color, age, and gender could determine the possibility of developing the condition. Sunburns and family history of skin cancer are also among the factors. Frequent sunburns can also increase the risk of melanoma.

"We see skin cancer and melanoma in all skin types, but people with fair skin, light eyes, who've spent a lot of time in the sun, are at an increased risk for sure," says Dr. Elizabeth Hale, a clinical associate professor of dermatology at the New York University Langone Medical Center.

A person's lifetime risk of having melanoma is estimated at 2.6 percent. The average age that a person is diagnosed for melanoma is at 63 years. It is said that one in five people will likely develop skin cancer by the age of 70 years. However, melanoma is also prevalent in young female adults, especially those who frequent tanning beds.

People who have at least 50 moles should also visit a dermatologist and take note of any changes in the color, shape, and size of moles.

Avoid Tanning And Always Wear Sunscreen

Wearing appropriate sunscreen daily is also necessary to help protect the skin from melanoma and skin cancer. Parents are strongly advised to put sunscreen on their children.

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Sunscreen should be applied to the skin 15 minutes before exposure to sunlight and even during winter and on cloudy days.

To protect the skin from sunburn, avoid sun exposure between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. When going out, wear appropriate clothing that can cover exposed parts of the skin. Wearing of hats and sunglasses is also encouraged. Seek shade during the midday sun when the sun's rays are the strongest.

Experts have also issued warning that tanning can lead to skin cancer and premature skin aging.

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