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American Cancer Societys 2006 Cancer Facts & Figures

According to the American Cancer Society, melanoma skin cancer will account for 62,190 of the new cases of cancer in the United States this year.  Of those, 34,260 will be male, and 27,930 female.  The estimated deaths from melanoma skin cancer are 7,910 in the U.S. (5,020 male; 2890 female). 


California will account for more than 10% of the new cases in 2006 with an estimated total of 6,290.  The state with the next highest number of estimated new cases is Florida with 4,870 followed by Texas with 3,930.


The probability of developing invasive melanoma skin cancer (based on data collected from 2000-2002) over a person's lifetime is 1 in 52 for men and 1 in 77 for women. 


Survival rates for people with melanoma skin cancer vary depending on the progression of the disease when it is diagnosed.  For cases of localized melanoma (has not spread to surrounding tissue), the 5 year survival rate is 92% with a 10 year survival rate of 89%.  For melanoma that has spread to surrounding tissues, regional through distant stages of the disease, the survival rate drops to 64% (regional) and 16% (distant). 


Source: American Cancer Society, Cancer Facts and Figures 2006. Atlanta: American Cancer Society; 2006.


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National Melanoma Awareness Project

In 2002, Joel Myres, a med student at UC Irvine in California died of malignant melanoma.  The lump in his abdomen originated from a malignant mole that he had discovered and removed 16 years earlier.


In 2004, Jeanette Waller and other fellow students at UC Irvine founded the Joel Myres Melanoma Awareness Project which has now expanded into the National Melanoma Awareness Project.  They developed a curriculum and in the 2004-2005 school year began giving presentations to middle schools in Orange County, California.  In their first year they delivered their skin cancer prevention message to over 3500 students and hope to increase the number to over 6000 students in 2006. 


The National Melanoma Awareness project has over 50 volunteers including medical students and premedical undergraduate students.  They are working to educate teenagers on the dangers of over exposure to UV rays, skin cancer prevention, and early detection.


More than 15 medical schools nationwide have joined the fight and have adopted course materials to develop the project in their own communities.   For more information please visit their website at





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Tanning restrictions not enforced in MN and MA

A new study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology shows that tanning legislation is not being enforced.  Minnesota and Massachusetts' both have total tanning restrictions for minors under the ages of 16 and 18 , respectively.  To test the effectiveness of the ban 15 year old girls posed as customers and attempted to buy a single tanning session at 200 salons in the Minneapolis and Boston areas.  The purchase attempts were successful at 81% of the salons.  Businesses least likely to sell were larger, dedicated to indoor tanning, required employee certification, and had a minimum age of sale for their business. The authors of the study concluded the laws in Minnesota and Massachusetts were not effective. 

Source: Forster JL, Lazovich, D, Hickle A, Sorensen G, Demierre, M. Compliance with restrictions on sale of indoor tanning sessions to youth in Minnesota and Massachusetts.  J Am Acad Dermatol 2006;55:962-7.


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