Chances are the last time you went to the doctor they encouraged you to remember to always wear sunscreen. This is because skin cancer is one of the most common types of cancer, with over 100,000 cases of melanoma specifically each year, the most dangerous and difficult to treat types of skin cancer. Fortunately, the number of deaths due to melanoma have been dropping, and researchers think they know why.
From 1986 to 2013, melanoma deaths were on the rise, but from 2013 to 2016, there was an 18 percent drop in metastatic-melanoma deaths. Researchers think this is due to 10 new innovative skin cancer treatments that are proving to be very successful. These alternative methods take less of a toll on patients than chemotherapy and are still effective for disease treatment.
The way we treat skin cancer is improving, but prevention is still key. Increased awareness about the causes of skin cancer and subsequent preventative measures also likely impacted the drop in deaths. Genetics, age, and sex all affect your chances of developing skin cancer, but habits such as using sunscreen daily, wearing protective clothing, and reducing oxidative stress from pollution are great ways to reduce your chances of contracting skin cancer.
These improved treatment options and a corresponding drop in melanoma deaths are great news for anyone with skin cancer or those most at risk for contracting it. These findings demonstrate the power of long term research and treatment studies in medicine. But remember, the best solution for improved health is preventative medicine!