A Deadly Form of Skin Cancer Is on The Rise

Image: Mind the Graph
Date:5 August 2022

Melanoma, a fatal kind of skin cancer, is becoming more common in Canada. Recent research from McGill University indicates that residents in southern and coastal regions are more vulnerable.

“Cutaneous melanoma causes more deaths than any other skin cancer, accounting for 1.9% of all cancer deaths in men and 1.2% in women in Canada. Globally, there were 290,000 new cases of this form of skin cancer in 2018,” according to Dr. Ivan Litvinov, Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine at McGill University.

The Maritime provinces of Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia in Canada have the highest incidence rate of melanoma in the country, even after taking into account other factors including age. While rates in the prairie provinces and Newfoundland and Labrador were lower than the national average, rates in New Brunswick, Ontario, and British Columbia were comparable to the national average of 20.75 cases per 100,000 people per year despite being comparably high, according to scitechdaily.com.

According to Dr. Litvinov, there are some regions of Canada that are afflicted far more severely than others due to the uneven frequency of melanoma.

Skin cancer rates are higher in men and older people

According to the results published in the journal Frontiers in Medicine, melanoma incidence was higher in males than in women, at about 54 percent vs. 46 percent, with the exception of melanomas that frequently develop on fingers (acral lentiginous melanoma).

Dr. Litvinov speculates that this may be related to nail salons’ greater UV exposure.

In males, skin cancer was more common on the trunk and around the head and neck. Women were more frequently affected in the arms and legs. Incidence rates for melanomas were similarly higher in people over 60.

Age-related increases in skin cancer risk are most likely brought on by lifelong exposure to UV radiation from the sun or other artificial sources. But younger people can also develop skin cancer. The risk of exposure depends on many factors, including genetics, past experiences, and geographic location. According to Dr. Litvinov, melanoma can occasionally develop in people in their 60s as a result of sunburns they received in their teens, 20s, and 30s.

In Canada, mortality rates are falling

Although melanoma rates are rising, fatality rates are declining for the first time since 2013, according to the study. According to them, this is probably because of recent, tailored immunotherapy therapies. However, the situation abroad is still less certain.

Melanoma incidence have increased by 44% globally over the years, while fatality rates have increased by 32% at the same time. Melanoma rates are probably going to rise as a result of climate change and ozone layer loss, according to Dr. Litvinov.

The researchers claim that public education efforts directed at residents of high-risk regions are crucial for melanoma prevention. Men and women should be targeted differently in these advertisements.

According to Dr. Litvinov, the biggest issue for men is sun exposure on the chest, head, and neck. We need to encourage ladies to cover their legs and arms from the sun.


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