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Skin Cancer and Sun Safety

  • By: Barbara J. Walkosz
  • In: Encyclopedia of Health Communication
  • Edited by: Teresa L. Thompson
  • Subject:Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology, Health Communication

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States with over 3.5 million new cases of nonmelanoma and melanoma cancers identified annually. Nonmelanoma skin cancers include basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas that are rarely fatal and are treatable. Over 70,000 new cases of melanoma, the most deadly skin cancer, occur each year, resulting in over 9,000 deaths. Melanoma rates have almost doubled since 1973. Of increased concern is that melanoma is now the most common cancer for both young women and men (aged 25 to 29) and the leading cause of cancer death for women in this age cohort.

The primary cause of skin cancer is exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from both the sun and indoor tanning beds. Ultraviolet radiation is a ...

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