Sunburn prevalence

Despite years of health warnings about skin cancer, Americans continue to subject themselves to the sun's harms. New data show that from 1999 to 2004, sunburn prevalence among U.S. adults increased.

Whites have the highest prevalence of sunburn (defined in this survey as having at least one sunburn in the previous year), but sunburn is also reported among racial and ethnic groups that are traditionally considered at lower risk. Sunburn is linked to two types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma and melanoma, the most deadly type of skin cancer.

Sunburn prevalence among all adults: 33.7%

Sunburn prevalence among adult men: 37%

Sunburn prevalence among in adult women: 30.3%

Sunburn prevalence among white, non-Hispanic men: 46.9%

Sunburn prevalence among white, non-Hispanic women: 39.6%

Sunburn prevalence among white adults in California: 34.8%

Percentage of adults who reported four or more sunburn incidents in the preceding year: 20.7%

New cases of melanoma diagnosed in the U.S.: 55,100 (2004); 59,580 (2005); 62,190 (2006)

Melanoma deaths in the United States: 7,910 (2004); 7,770 (2005); 7,910 (2006)

Source: American Cancer Society and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, June 1, 2007, "Sunburn Prevalence Among Adults — United States, 1999, 2003 and 2004." Data are from 2004 except where noted.

— Shari Roan

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