Vitals Releases Summer Skin Cancer Risk Report

At-risk states have low racial diversity and fewer dermatologists in their medical community

 JULY 11, 2017 – LYNDHURST, NJ – Each year, there are more new cases of skin cancer than the combined incidence of breast, lung, colon and prostate cancers.

Despite years of education campaigns supporting sunscreen application and maligning tanning salons, skin cancer rates – especially melanomas, the deadliest form of skin cancer – have risen sharply over the past 30 years. Nationally, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer over the course of a lifetime.

Risk factors include family history, the use of tanning beds and the number of sunburns a person experiences. People with moles, fair skin and freckles are also more likely to develop skin cancer.

Over the past decade, the nation’s health agencies have stepped up to fight skin cancer. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention creates community guides to help reduce cancer rates on local levels. In 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration placed rules on which sunscreens could be labeled “broad-spectrum.” More recently, the agency has proposed tighter restrictions on people under-18 accessing tanning beds.

Yet, even as the nation’s agencies step up to prevent skin cancer, access to high-quality dermatologists and the incidence of skin cancer varies greatly state by state. The Vitals Index Skin Cancer Risk Report is based on proprietary and third party data sources. The report takes into account quality ratings for dermatologists and the number of dermatologists per capita by state. It also considers statewide skin cancer rates, as well as race compositions by state.

States with low skin cancer risk have more dermatologists per capita and racial diversity. In contrast, states with the highest risk had non-Hispanic white populations of over 90 percent. In addition, they had less dermatologists in their medical communities.

States With The Lowest Risk of Skin Cancer

 

Rank

State Skin Cancer Incidence (per 100,000)  

Dermatologists per capita

Quality Rating

(out of 5)

% of Caucasians
1 Louisiana 17.3 1:20,944 4.2 63.5%
2 Hawaii 20.3 1:21,503 3.74 26.6%
3 Massachusetts 18.4 1:12,799 3.99 83.2%
4 California 23 1:17,750 4.03 73.5%
5 Maryland 21.9 1:17,075 3.64 60.5%

States With The Highest Skin Cancer Risk

 

Rank

State Skin Cancer Incidence (per 100,000)  

Dermatologists per capita

Quality Rating

(out of 5)

% of Caucasians
50 Wyoming 26.6 1:35,583 4.15 92.7%
49 Vermont 35.7 1:23,206 4.12 95.2%
48 Utah 42.3 1:23,356 4.11 91.6%
47 West Virginia 20 1:35,583 4.05 91.6%
46 Maine 25.1 1:32,441 4.05 95.2%

Although there is no ethnic divide when it comes to skin cancer, Caucasians are more susceptible to developing a melanoma – making skin color a determining risk factor. Yet, people of color are often diagnosed with a melanoma at later stages, making it harder to treat their cancer successfully.

Dermatologists have special training that includes the diagnosis and management of skin cancers. During an annual skin exam, dermatologists check for new moles or changes to old ones. If a dermatologist is unavailable, a primary care doctor can also perform an annual skin check.

Below is information on what to expect and how to prepare for an annual skin exam.

 Before The Appointment. Remove nail polish from both your fingernails and toenails. Skin cancers can form on nail bed areas.

During The Exam. In order to complete a head-to-toe skin examination, you’ll be required to strip down. A typical exam should take 10-15 minutes, but it could take longer if you have more moles. Ask about any spots that you are concerned about. Your doctor can let you know what to look for between exams.

Keeping Watch. Know the ABCDEs of skin cancer and perform a full-body skin self-exam monthly.

A – Asymmetry. Most benign moles are symmetrical. Dangerous moles are not.

B – Borders. A benign mole has smooth, even borders. The borders of a melanoma tends to be scalloped or notched.

C – Color. Most benign moles are all one color. Melanomas can have a variety of shades.

D – Diameter. Benign moles are often small in diameter. Melanomas are usually larger than the size of a pencil eraser – although they can start off smaller and grow.

E – Evolving. Benign moles look the same over time. Melanomas will change in shape, color, elevation. They may also bleed, itch or crust.

To find a dermatologist, visit www.vitals.com

About Vitals

Vitals empowers everyone to shop for their health care like an expert. We bring together cost and quality transparency along with innovative consumer engagement programs to help people select high-quality, lower-cost care. Vitals leads the market with incentive and engagement programs that pay people to shop. Our solutions achieve measurable and sustainable savings for consumers, employers and health plans. Vitals helps more than 120 million people each year access better, more affordable care.

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