Study: Mass. has sixth highest rate of skin cancer - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Study: Mass. has sixth highest rate of skin cancer

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(Western Mass News photo) (Western Mass News photo)

Florida ranks number one in the nation when it comes to cases of skin cancer, according to a new study just out by Blue Cross Blue Shield.  

However, it may surprise you to know Massachusetts comes in at number six.

The study lists several determining factors in ranking Massachusetts number six in skin cancer cases.  One of those is skin color.

"It depends on the diversity of the skin types, lighter skin types having increased risks, so those are all factors that can play into our high ranking then people would expect," said Dr. Yolanda Lenzy with Lenzy Dermatology in Chicopee.

Another factor is behavior.

"Just from seeing patients every day, we know that patients still aren't great about their sunscreen," Lenzy added.

Here's the top five in the study:

  • Florida
  • D.C. 
  • Connecticut
  • Maryland, Rhode Island, and Vermont - three way tie for fourth
  • North Carolina

Lenzy told Western Mass News that we simply cannot think of sunblock as a one and done.

"Some patients only apply once a day and think they're protected.  Others still don't wear it at all," Lenzy explained.

Lenzy said that an SPF of at least 30 is key and products with zinc oxide not only work great, but are better for the environment and now come in a sheer lotion.  

"Most of us aren't wearing adequate sunscreen in terms of amount and frequency is big.  We really need to apply every two to three hours throughout the day because it goes away, we sweat, we're doing water sports and things like that," Lenzy noted.

Impact Melanoma, a non-profit designed to raise awareness about skin safety is stepping in to help.   Free sunblock dispensers are set up in dozens of locations, including many parks, in the Boston area.  

A spokeswoman told Western Mass News that they are now working to set up dispensers all across western Massachusetts as well. 

In case you're wondering, the study shows that in Massachusetts, Barnstable and Yarmouth rank number one when it comes to cases of melanoma.

Copyright 2018 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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