St. Paul, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- Melanoma rates in Minnesota continue to rapidly increase with 1,460 people diagnosed in 2009 with the invasive skin cancer.
From 2005 to 2009, melanoma rates in Minnesota increased by 35 percent for men and 38 percent for women.
"If not found early, melanomas can spread to other parts of the body and can be deadly," said Commissioner of Health Dr. Ed Ehlinger. "For Minnesotans the main risk for sun exposure is in the summer, but we also want to remind people taking winter vacations that they risk serious health consequences, if they don't protect their skin from ultraviolet light."
Health officials say the best protection against skin cancer is reduced exposure to natural ultraviolet light and tanning beds.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that about 65 percent to 90 percent of melanomas are caused by exposure to ultraviolet light. Other risk factors for melanoma are family history of skin cancer, fair skin, and certain types of moles as well as a large number of moles.
Reports indicated that the risk of being diagnosed with melanoma is increasing among all age groups. Since 1995, the melanoma rate for woman who identify themselves as white between 20 and 49 years of age has doubled.
Melanoma of the skin is a more serious form of cancer than the more commonly diagnosed basal and squamous cell skin cancers.
To learn more about the rate of melanoma in Minnesota and how you can prevent your family from the skin cancer, you can log onto the Minnesota Department of Health.
Posted to the web by Krista Burns