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Kansas, Missouri Follow National Trend of Rising Skin Cancer Rates

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The Kansas rate of melanoma has surpassed the national rate, with 23.4 cases per 100,000 people in 2011, while Missouri's rate reached 17.8 per 100,000.

The rate of life-threatening skin cancer has more than doubled in the past three decades in the United States, according to a national report.

And without more efforts at prevention, health officials say the problem will get worse. 

The latest data from the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention show that melanoma rates increased from 11.2 cases per 100,000 people in 1982 to 22.7 cases per 100,000 people in 2011, the most recent year for which complete data is available.

The Kansas rate has surpassed the national rate, with 23.4 cases per 100,000 people in 2011, while Missouri’s rate reached 17.8 per 100,000.

In the CDC blog Vital Signs, the number of melanoma cases nationally is projected to reach 112,000 in 2030 without increased prevention measures, a 65 percent increase over the nearly 74,000 cases estimated in 2015 by the American Cancer Society.

Health experts blame the increase, at least in part, on the use of tanning beds. Doctors advise using sunscreen when outdoor and avoiding tanning beds to prevent skin cancer.

Alex Smith is a reporter for KCUR, a partner in the Heartland Health Monitor team.

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As a health care reporter, I aim to empower my audience to take steps to improve health care and make informed decisions as consumers and voters. I tell human stories augmented with research and data to explain how our health care system works and sometimes fails us. Email me at alexs@kcur.org.
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