To stay on top of skin cancer, we need the most accurate and timely data related to the disease.
Melanoma cases are currently being underreported. Diagnosing physicians are required by law to report melanoma cases to a national cancer registry. However, some melanomas diagnosed and treated in outpatient settings are underreported.1 Basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas are not reported to a national registry at all, but the Surgeon General recommends that better data on all these cancers be collected at the regional level. Now that electronic health record systems are commonplace in hospitals and doctor’s offices, collecting this data should be easier.
We also need to increase our understanding of UV exposure patterns in the US population. More research needs to be done to understand how much or how little UV exposure people are receiving each day around the country. We also need to improve our tracking of indoor tanning behaviors and investigate the impact that regulations have had on tanning incidence.
The hope is that by charting just how vast the problem is, we will come to understand how much we are all at risk. Then, by continually reviewing our skin cancer prevention efforts to date, we will be able to see what is working and what is not, so that we can eliminate what isn’t and develop better strategies to protect ourselves and our loved ones.
Published on August 27, 2014