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June 03, 2015

Melanoma rates continue to rise, causing more deaths, higher health care costs

Health News Melanoma
Skin Cancer Rich Pedroncelli/AP

Lisa Andrews applies sunscreen while poolside with her daughters Lauryn, 4, and Elliana, 6, at their home in Carmichael, California. Andrews was 35 when she was diagnosed with malignant melanoma that had to be removed from her leg.

Melanoma rates continue to rise, and the skin cancer kills more than 9,000 people each year, according to a report released Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Melanoma, responsible for the most skin cancer deaths in the United States, results in the loss of an average of 20.4 years of potential life.

Nearly 40 percent of Americans report sunburn each year, most likely because they are not adequately protecting their skin from damaging UV exposure. About $3.3 billion is spent on melanoma treatments annually in the U.S. 

The CDC report suggests that the health and economic burden of melanoma will continue to increase through 2030 if people do not reduce UV exposure from sunbathing and indoor tanning

A comprehensive skin cancer prevention program was estimated to avert 230,000 melanoma cases and $2.7 billion in initial year treatment costs from 2020 through 2030.

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S.

See the full report.