New England and other northern states show a decline in melanoma cases and melanoma-related deaths, according to a new study published online on Wednesday in JAMA Dermatology. The study, made between 2003 and 2013, shows a link between the prevention programs and the drop of the skin cancer rate in those states.

These northern states have become the single region where the melanoma cases are dropping. In the rest of the US, the skin-cancer related cases and deaths continue on the rise.

Melanoma cases have been dropping in the northern region of the United States. Photo credit: Vchalup / Fotolia  / Empowher
Melanoma cases have been dropping in the northern region of the United States. Photo credit: Vchalup / Fotolia / Empowher

“Such programs may enhance public awareness about skin cancer and may suppress the continual rise in melanoma,” the researchers said.

Prevention programs are the key to the decline of skin cancer

The new study was led by Dr. Robert Dellavalle from the Denver Veterans Affairs Medical Center. It was titled “Comparison of Regional and State Differences in Melanoma Rates in the United States” and It states that northern states, especially New England, show a decline in melanoma cases and deaths. The study analyzed government data on death and cases registered between 2003 and 2013. According to the study, this decrease is due to the prevention programs developed in these states. However, it important to highlight that only 5 of 9 northern states saw a drop in the melanoma cases rate and 6 out of 9 states had a decline in melanoma-related deaths.

During the years examined the Melanoma Foundation of New England was really active with programs to prevent skin cancer, such as prevention campaigns to raise awareness. As well, the foundation started a program two years ago through which they funded sunscreen dispensers in public and recreation places all over Boston and other New England cities.

This year, these programs have been implemented in other states, and according to the study, it would be advisable for other regions in the U.S. to do the same thing since, besides the northern part, every year more cases and death related to melanoma are registered in the country.

Just 49 states were studied in the research since Nevada didn’t have available data. The region with the biggest rise was the Midwestern states. The rates also increased in the southern and western region, though it varies depending on the states. According to the study, the ethnic and other demographic differences play a role.

Melanoma cases have increased over the past two decades in the United States

According to the American Cancer Society, melanoma cases have steadily increased over the last 20 years. They considered that when the 2016 cases are tallied, more than 76,000 Americans will have been diagnosed. Melanoma cases have climbed from 22 cases per 100,000 people, in 2009, to 24 cases per 100,000 in 2016.

Skin cancer causes more than 9000 deaths a year, and its rate continues to increase faster than any other rate associated with preventable cancer.

Nowadays, skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the country. It is important to be aware of the apparition of unusual, colored, and irregularly shaped moles. These moles can invade tissues beneath the skin and spread rapidly through the body.

Source: Portland Press Herald