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Sun Exposure

Why is Oregon in the top 5 states with the highest risk of skin cancer & melanoma in the nation?

——-Below is a portion Taken from http://www.foxnews.com/health/2014/07/02/worst-states-for-melanoma.html

The states with the highest rates of melanoma

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the highest rates of melanoma are in some of the cloudiest states, like Washington, Oregon, and Vermont. Rates are per 100,000 residents, and it should be noted that data is not available for Arkansas or Minnesota.

1. Delaware—32.6
2. Vermont—32.3
3. New Hampshire—31.4
4. Wyoming—30.1
5. Oregon—29.6
6. Montana—29
7. Iowa—27.8
8. Washington—27.5
9. Utah—27.4
10. Maine—26.5

Since melanoma risk is increased with sun exposure, why do some of the cloudiest states have the highest melanoma rates? The answer may lie in behavior differences by location, though we can’t draw a direct cause and effect conclusion. Common advice is to apply sunscreen and wear protective gear when in the sun, but many people don’t follow this advice on cloudy days. Even so, harmful rays seep through the clouds and can cause skin damage. Even on very cloudy days, as much as 80 percent of harmful UV rays can get through. In locations with a lot of clouds, residents may be skipping on sun protection more often, leading to higher exposure to UV rays.

Since people in cloudy climates don’t see the need to protect themselves from the sun often, they may be out of the habit of doing so on sunny days as well. Because these places are so cloudy, residents are more likely to be pale, and on a sunny day may suffer more extreme sunburns as a result. Tanned skin is still unhealthy skin and is a risk factor for melanoma, but a greater risk factor is the number of severe sunburns over a lifetime.
When it comes to developing melanoma, the biggest risk factors are sun exposure and white skin. The good news is that survival rates are high, but that’s no reason to ignore the risk—costs of treatment can reach the thousands. Additionally, even though white people develop melanoma more easily, nobody is immune. To protect yourself from skin cancer of all types, your best bet is to wear protective clothing and and sunscreen every day, even when it’s cloudy.