Some scientists calling skin cancer an epidemic - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

3/16/10

Some scientists calling skin cancer an epidemic

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LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Cancer is expected to overtake heart disease this year as the number one reason people die in this country.

Last year, there were one and a half million new cases, and over half a million people died. The new cancer report in the journal of the American Medical Association gives to patients with colon and lung cancer because great progress is being made in those areas.

But, there is new concern about what some scientists are calling an epidemic: skin cancer. Non-melanoma skin cancer is now the most common malignant disease in the country, affecting at least 13 million Americans. "Being able to actually monitor the trends has been a challenge because they're not often treated in cancer centers," said Susan Gapstur, with the American Cancer Society.

So, it may not always be reported but doctors say now if you're diagnosed with a skin cancer it should be treated as a chronic disease. Because people who've had a spot identified one time are nine times more likely than the average American to be diagnosed with skin cancer again. 

By the way, the entire issue of JAMA this time is devoted to cancer research.

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