Emerging Issues April 17, 2017

MELANOMA OF THE SKIN (SKIN CANCER) RATES DECLINE IN MESA COUNTY

  • Mesa County’s rate of melanoma of the skin cases reduced by nearly 50 percent throughout the past five years. Our rate, 12.7 cases per 100,000 people, is significantly lower than the rate of Colorado as a whole, 20.8 cases per 100,000 people.
  • Our rate of death for the same disease, however, has remained consistent at a rate of 3.6 deaths per 100,000 people throughout that same five year span.
  • The reduced rate of cases shows that residents’ efforts to protect themselves from ultraviolet rays, which can damage your skin and cause skin cancer, is working.
  • Residents should continue practicing these healthy habits.
    • Wear a broad spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 15 and UVA and UVB protection when spending time outside, even if it’s a cloudy day.
      • Be sure to check the expiration date before use.
    • Apply sunscreen about 30 minutes before spending time in the sun and reapply it often throughout the day when spending time outdoors.
    • Be sure to shake the bottle well before applying it thickly and thoroughly to all parts of your skin that are exposed to the sun, including your ears, back, shoulders and the back of your knees and legs.
    • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants whenever possible to protect against UV rays. Darker colors may offer more protection than lighter colors.
      • If this isn’t practical, consider wearing a t-shirt or a beach cover-up to offer more protection.
    • Hats and sunglasses are helpful, too.
      • A hat with a brim all the way around shades your face, ears and the back of your neck. Avoid straw hats that let the sunlight shine through.
      • Sunglasses protect your eyes and the tender skin around your eyes from sun exposure, too.
    • Seek shade under an umbrella, tree or shelter to avoid too much time in the sun.
  • Remember, clouds do not block UV rays, so don’t be fooled. Keep your skin safe and healthy.

VACCINATE CHILDREN TO PROTECT AGAINST HPV LATER IN LIFE

  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 45.2 percent of adults between the ages of 18 and 59 in the U.S. have genital Human Papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted disease.
  • HPV vaccine can protect against the disease, which can sometimes lead to cancer.
  • Mesa County is on par with the rest of the state when it comes to HPV vaccination.
    • Nearly 30 percent of Mesa County females ages 13 through 17 have received three HPV vaccines.
    • Twenty-two percent of boys in the same age range have received three HPV vaccines.
    • The Mesa County Public Health Clinic continues to see the number of HPV vaccinations administered in their clinic increase each year.
  • All girls and boys who are 11 or 12 years old should get the recommended series of HPV vaccine.
    • The vaccination series can be started at age 9.
    • HPV vaccine is recommended for women through age 26 and men through age 21.
  • The Mesa County Public Health Clinic offers HPV vaccine on a sliding scale basis, so cost isn’t a barrier for those in need of the vaccine series.
  • Call (970) 248-6900 to make an appointment or contact your health care provider.

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