Acting U.S. Surgeon General Boris D. Lushniak wants to shine a spotlight on the nation’s ever-growing number of skin-cancer cases, calling it a “major public health problem that requires immediate action.”
In a report last week, Lushniak highlights some disquieting facts about the disease and its most deadly form, melanoma. Each year, 63,000 new cases of melanoma are diagnosed in the United States, the report says, and there are an estimated 9,000 annual deaths from the disease, many of them involving teenagers and young adults. (The American Cancer Society uses slightly different statistics.)
The report, the first time the surgeon general has publicly focused on skin cancer, urges ordinary Americans to take long-recommended preventive steps such as wearing sunscreen and seeking shade when outdoors. But it also calls on other sectors of society, from researchers to policymakers, to play a role in turning back the tide of the disease.
Lushniak spoke to The Washington Post about the report:
Certainly, this time of year, we’re in the midst of vacation season. It’s the last big spurt of people heading to the beach, people spending time having that potential exposure to ultraviolet radiation. We thought now was a really good time to get the message out.