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Melanoma Rates Higher In New Jersey Than Other US States

First Posted: May 23, 2016 06:20 AM EDT
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Summertime is here, which means that people should not go out in the open without slathering on some sunscreen. After all, while summer means stretching out in the sun, for others, it also means melanoma - or skin cancer.

SkinCancer.org noted that melanoma kills around 10,130 people in the US annually. However, the rate of melanoma is growing faster in New Jersey than in other states - and it may be because of people's love for their time on the Jersey shore.

Dr. Howard Kaufman, associate director of clinical science and chief surgical officer at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey told Patch, "New Jersey has a higher rate of melanoma, something we always tend to attribute to the Jersey Shore. Melanoma is one of the few cancers that does seem to be on the rise. And we're not 100 percent sure why, but a lot of it relates to sun exposure."

But the sun is not the only problem - in fact, artificial ways to get the much-coveted summer tan is one of the major contributors to skin cancer. "One of the worst things you can do is go to a tanning salon," Kaufman said.

 But who are the most at risk for melanoma? The doctor said it is seen most in two groups: men over the age of 65 and women in their 20s - which is very concerning. He also said that the reason for this may also be because of kids getting exposed to tanning beds as early as high school.

There are two major risk factors for people to get melanoma: genetic factors, ie people who have a family history of skin cancer, and the second is ultraviolet radiation, which we can get from the sun and tanning salons.

To avoid skin problems and potential risk for melanoma, Kaufman adviced, Go out in the early morning or late afternoon. Don't go out in the middle of the day, when UV rays are at their strongest. The best protection is to wear long-sleeved clothes or a hats. That's really going to block the sun the best. The second best is to use sunscreen."

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