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Utah Has The Country's Highest Rate Of Melanoma

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Latest numbers from the Centers for Disease Control show that Utah has twice as many cases of melanoma skin cancer as the national average.

In 2014, about 21 out of every 100,000 Americans was diagnosed with melanoma. In Utah, it’s 42 out of every 100,000 people.

Joelle Fierro with the state’s Cancer Control Network says Utah has consistently had higher-than-average melanoma rates, but rates have almost doubled since the 1990s.

Researchers aren’t sure exactly what caused the increase, but they have some ideas.

Utah has “a lot of people of northern European descent,” Fierro says. “We have a higher elevation and are closer to the sun, and also we have a lot of reflective surfaces that we are always out and about in: water, snow.”

Fierro says it’s important to keep applying sunscreen on exposed skin, even in the wintertime. 

Nicole Nixon holds a Communication degree from the University of Utah. She has worked on and off in the KUER Newsroom since 2013, when she first joined KUER as an intern. Nicole is a Utah native. Besides public radio, she is also passionate about beautiful landscapes and breakfast burritos.
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