Despite warnings, Americans get sunburned

Oct. 20, 2011 at 1:44 AM   |   Comments

ATLANTA, Oct. 20 (UPI) -- One-third of U.S. adults and 69 percent of children were sunburned in 2005 despite warning that sunburn increases skin cancer risk, a researcher says.

Study leader David Buller of Klein Buendel Inc. -- a research and consulting firm -- examined the prevalence of sunburn, sun protection and indoor tanning behaviors for an article in the report, "Melanoma Surveillance in the United States," scheduled to be published November issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

The journal supplement of 15 articles focuses on melanoma surveillance, trends and survival rates. Many of the studies used data from Centers for disease Control and Prevention's National Program of Cancer Registries and the National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results Program.

Melanoma involves cells called melanocytes, which produce a skin pigment called melanin responsible for skin and hair color.

Melanoma can spread very rapidly. Although it is less common than other types of skin cancer, the rate of melanoma is steadily increasing, the researchers said.

In another article, Donatus Ekwueme of the CDC said deaths caused by melanoma accounted for $3.5 billion in lost productivity each year. Deaths among men accounted for $2.4 billion of lost productivity -- an average of $441,903 per man -- and deaths among women accounted for $1.2 billion of lost productivity -- an average of $401,046 per woman.

The study found a person who died of melanoma between 2000-06 died 20 years prematurely, compared to 17 years from other cancers.

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