Publisher’s Note: The Florida resident’s risk for skin cancer

Nelson_CFDr2IN THIS EDITION of Central Florida Health News, we bring to light the importance of sun safety and how you can protect yourself from damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays that lead to life-threatening skin cancers, such as melanoma.

In Dr. Ulyee Choe’s Medical Advice column for this edition, he points out that the death rate in Florida due to melanoma in 2015 is estimated to be 820. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), that’s up from approximately 626 per year in the past. It’s unfortunate, because it’s a life-threatening disease that is preventable, and yet the numbers continue to climb.

If you’re not completely convinced of the dangers of skin cancer and melanoma in Florida, then here are some more facts provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the CDC:

  • Since 1975, the skin cancer death rate among our state’s residents over the age of 50 has almost doubled.
  • Melanoma is responsible for 75 percent of all skin cancer deaths in Florida.
  • A 2004 survey found that 37.7 percent of white adults in Florida had at least one sunburn in the past year. Sunburns are a significant risk factor for the development of skin cancer.
  • Since 1981, the rate of new melanoma diagnoses among white males has increased by 74 percent and by 43 percent among white females.
  • From 2002-2006, St. Johns County had the highest melanoma death rate in the state, which was 96 percent higher than the national average.

If you don’t know how to protect your skin from the damaging effects of UV radiation, then I recommend reading this month’s Medical Advice column, as well as taking the Pop Quiz found in this edition. Both provide valuable insight on how you can protect yourself, beyond the obvious use of applying sunblock with an SPF of 15 or higher. Whether you’re bound for the great outdoors or not, all of us here at Central Florida Health News hope you have a fun and safe summer.

Nelson Kirkland is publisher of Central Florida Health News. He may be reached by e-mail at

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