Minnesota's Melanoma Incidence
A recent article published in the International Journal of Cancer analyzed melanoma incidence by state. Interestingly, Minnesota ranked right up there with Hawaii and Florida even though we have a lower UV index of sunlight. This hit the media with a big splash and the question is: how could this be possible? Click here to read the research paper The article theorized that in Minnesota we get a lot of sun exposure in our short summers while going to beaches, boating and possibly farming. Minnesotans are also known to escape our cold winters for southern climates, resulting in year round sun exposure. Of note is a brief mention in the article that the data could be indicative of more thorough screening for melanomas here in Minnesota. I am of the opinion that the latter plays a great role in the generation of this data. Minnesota routinely ranks in the top three states in healthcare delivery in the country. The incidence of melanoma can be skewed by how rigorously screening is carried out to find skin cancers. Another recent article showed that while the incidence of melanoma in Minnesota is high, the severity and outcomes are better, suggesting that the melanomas found are small and treated early and successfully. Unfortunately, it is also known that brief intense exposures to sunlight can cause sunburns which can lead to melanoma development. This does describe our brief summers where people get outside to enjoy themselves with too little regard for sun exposure and burning risk.
What to do?
Enjoy our brief summers here in the upper Midwest while avoiding sunburns through the use of sun protective clothing (see previous newsletter) and sunscreen. Additionally, be watchful for the ABCDEs of melanoma and be sure to get an annual skin examination to detect skin cancer at an early and treatable stage.
Call 952 374 5995 to schedule your annual skin cancer screening.
Dr. Arthur Ide Dermatology P.A.