Between 1975 and 2004 the
number of new cases of melanoma rose, and it is estimated that 60,000 new
cases occurred in 2007. Each year, more than a million people are diagnosed
with basal-cell or squamous-cell skin cancer (nonmelanoma). Forty percent to
50% of Americans who live to the age of 65 will develop one of these two types
of skin cancer at least once, but most cases of skin cancer are preventable.
The 2007 update of the
National Cancer Institute's Cancer Trends Progress Report used the following
criteria to assess sun-protection behaviors practiced by adults aged 18 and
older when they are outside for more than one hour on a warm, sunny day: using
sunscreen, wearing protective clothing, and seeking shade. Some types of
protective clothing are sun visors, long-sleeved shirts, and sun-protective
hats (not baseball caps) that fully protect the face, neck, and ears.
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sun-protection behaviors declined from 1992 to 1998, increased between 1998
and 2000, stabilized between 2000 and 2003, and dropped slightly between 2003
The percentage of people who usually or always use at least one
sun-protective article of clothing declined between 2003 and 2005, more so
Between 1992 and 1998, the percentage of people who usually seek shade
decreased; the percentage increased between 1998 and 2000, dropped between
2000 and 2003, and rose again between 2003 and 2005.
The percentage of people who usually use sunscreen increased somewhat after
1992 and remained stable from 1998 to 2000. The percentage increased between
2000 and 2003, including among people who used sunscreen with a sun-protection
factor (SPF) of 15 or greater. Sunscreen use dropped more steeply between 2003
and 2005 compared with any of the earlier increases.
• 30% of
individuals reported that they usually apply sunscreen; 27% usually use
sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or greater.
• 18% stated that they
usually wear some type of fully sun-protective clothing (if baseball caps are
included with fully sun-protective hats, usual use of at least partially
sun-protective clothing jumped to about 38%).
• 33% of individuals
usually seek shade.
• 43% of people 18 to 24
years of age used at least one sun-protection method.
• 58% of individuals
aged 25 years or older reported using at least one method.
• 47% of men aged 18 and
older reported usually using at least one method of sun protection, compared
with 65% of women of the same age.
Groups at Risk for Too Much
Men and younger
adults are less likely to use some type of sun protection. Adults with less
education and with a lower income are not as likely to use sunscreen.
Currently, only 56% of adults protect themselves from sun exposure. The
Healthy People 2010 target is to increase the percentage of adults who are
very likely to use sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or greater, wear protective
clothing, or seek shade to 75%.
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