May marks the start of both Skin Cancer Awareness Month and Melanoma Awareness Month. A time of the year to remind Americans, before the temperatures drastically rise, to take precaution outside and protect their skin from the sun’s harmful rays.
But not everyone is as thorough or proactive in taking preventative measures. To find out where populations are most and least concerned about skin cancer, Advanced Dermatology analyzed each state and found that more than half are not adequately concerned given their populations’ risk. In fact, one in five states are “dangerously unconcerned” about preventing skin cancer.
It may come as a surprise to some that skin cancer, or specifically Melanoma rates, are higher in Delaware, Minnesota and Vermont than in states like California and Florida where residents have greater year-round-exposure to the sun. Dermatologists understand that people with infrequent and intermittent sun exposure are not as vigilant when it comes to protecting their skin from sun burns. The sun comes out, the clothes shed off, and for those not used to constant sun exposure, it’s easy to forget that every prolonged period outside leaves them vulnerable to skin damage.
To find out where in the United States people are most concerned about preventing skin cancer year-round, Advanced Dermatology looked at two factors: the variance of skin cancer cases in each state, and the level of expressed interest in preventative steps as measured by Google Trends data. By comparing local levels of concern to the risk of melanoma and skin cancer, Advanced Dermatology was able to construct a portrait of Americans’ relationship with the disease.
Nine states are considered “dangerously unconcerned” with Idaho taking the number-50 spot in the ranking as the least concerned state in the country, followed by Utah, Kentucky, Vermont, Iowa, Georgia, Wyoming, Maine and Montana. These states have, for the most part, very high rates of skin cancer in their population, and comparatively low levels of concern for taking preventative measures.
On the other side of the spectrum, 10 states are “extremely concerned.” These states, including Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, Virginia, Illinois, Nevada, Hawaii, New Jersey, and Texas, have low or average instances of skin cancer but they all express high levels of concern about the disease.
Seventeen states are “appropriately concerned,” meaning by the standards of this study, the states have the right level of concern relative to their population’s risk of skin cancer. For example, New Mexico has a very low rate of skin cancer in its population, it has a correspondingly low level of expressed concern. While Delaware has a very high rate of skin cancer and very high levels of expressed concern.
While there are many reasons and factors as to why a person or population may be more, or less, prone to skin cancer, this study measures which states have populations who are taking the extra step of searching for ways to protect their skin and prevent the disease beyond visiting their dermatologist or wearing sunscreen on a daily basis.