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Cancer Awareness Month

May Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month


Melanoma is the most serious and aggressive type of skin cancer. Approximately 7,050 Californians are expected to be diagnosed with melanoma in 2012, and 925 are expected to die from the disease.

While light-skinned people have a greater risk of getting melanoma, this disease is increasing among people of color. In California, over the past 22 years, incidence rates of both in situ and invasive melanoma of the skin have increased for all racial/ethnic groups. These increases have been statistically significant for Hispanics and non-Hispanic whites.


    Trends in Melanoma Incidence and Mortality among Nong-Hispanic Whites in California, 1988-2009

Here are some basic skin cancer prevention strategies:

  • Reduce sun exposure from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., when Ultraviolet (UV) rays are strongest.
  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat.
  • Wear tightly woven, loose-fitting clothing that covers as much as the body as possible.
  • Wear sunglasses that include a warranty stating they provide 100 percent UVA and UVB (broad-spectrum) protection.
  • Liberally apply sunscreen to exposed skin 15 minutes before venturing outdoors.
  • The sunscreen container should specify a sun protection factor (SPF) rating of 30 or above and should state that is provides broad-spectrum (UVA and UVB) protection.
  • Avoid tanning salons, beds, and sunlamps.

Additional skin cancer prevention strategies can be found on the California Skin Cancer Prevention Program’s website.

For additional melanoma data from the California Cancer Registry (CCR) refer to the web data query system, California Facts and Figures 2012, the CCR’s Annual Statistical Tables by Cancer Site (1988-2009), County Fact Sheets or any of the additional resources under the Reports and Factsheets section of the CCR website.

Programmatic Resources Available through the California Department of Public Health (CDPH):