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Costs of Skin Cancer Treatment Spiked Faster than Other Cancers

Update Date: Nov 11, 2014 11:14 AM EST

The cost of treatment for skin cancer has increased rapidly over the past few years, a new study reported. According to the researchers, the rate has soared five times faster when compared to the costs of treatment for other kinds of cancer.

"The findings raise the alarm that not only is skin cancer a growing problem in the United States, but the costs for treating it are skyrocketing relative to other cancers," said study lead author Gery Guy, of the division of cancer prevention and control at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported by Philly. "This also underscores the importance of skin cancer prevention efforts."

Guy and his team analyzed national data between 2002 and 2011. They found that from 2002-2006 to 2007-2011, the average yearly number of skin cancer cases in adults increased from 3.4 million to 4.9 million. During the same two time periods, the average annual cost of treatment for skin cancer more than doubled from $3.6 billion to $8.1 billion, which is an increase of 126 percent. The researchers noted that for other cancers, costs rose by just 25 percent.

"It's clear that not enough has been done in terms of skin cancer prevention behaviors," said Guy according to the Washington Post. "In a lot of these cases, skin cancer, for the most part, is preventable. We know sun safety and avoiding indoor tanning go a long way."

Skin cancer is most commonly caused by frequent exposure to the sun's ultraviolet rays. In order to lower skin cancer risk, the CDC recommends people to use sunscreen, avoid indoor tanning, seek out shading and wear protective gear, such as hats and long-sleeved clothing.

The study, "Prevalence and Costs of Skin Cancer Treatment in the U.S., 2002-2006 and 2007-2011," was published in the American Journal of Prevention Medicine.

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