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Skin Cancer Increasing in Washington; Melanoma Incidence Rates Highest in Puget Sound Counties

Washington ranks among the top 10 states for the highest rates of newly diagnosed cancerous melanoma of the skin. According to data from the Washington State Cancer Registry (WSCR), the rates have been increasing by about 2% each year since 2000. Jefferson, Island, King, San Juan, Kitsap, Skagit and Snohomish counties combined had higher rates of newly diagnosed cancerous melanoma of the skin than the state as a whole.

Map - Washington State Incidence Rates of Melanoma of the Skin 2010-2014

Washington State Incidence Rates of Melanoma of the Skin 2010-2014

 

It may be surprising that skin cancer is high in areas where rain and clouds dominate the sky for so many months of the year. Health officials speculate it may be due in part to a mistaken assumption that, since skies are often overcast and temperatures mild, the risk of sun damage is low.

The Environmental Protection Agency says 80 percent of the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can pass through clouds and reflect off of surfaces like water, sand, or snow, further increasing our exposure to ultraviolet radiation. By checking the daily UV index, you can better prepare yourself and your family for the day ahead.

A UV index score of three or higher means you need to apply the sunscreen.

CDC - Use a Layered Approach for Sun Protection

Use a Layered Approach for Sun Protection

 

Resources

·         EPA Sun Safety & UV Index: www.epa.gov/sunsafety

·         CDC Skin Cancer: www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/index.htm

·         Skin Cancer Foundation: www.skincancer.org

·         Washington Department of Health: http://www.doh.wa.gov/Newsroom/2017NewsReleases/17074SkinCancerNewsRelease

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