DefinitionMelanoma Skin Cancer Deaths per 100,000 population in New Mexico
NumeratorNumber of melanoma skin cancer deaths
DenominatorNew Mexico population
Why Is This Important?Melanoma skin cancer is less common than basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers, but it is far more serious. All types of skin cancer are associated with exposure to the sun. New Mexico's desert climate and high elevation contribute to increased levels of sun exposure, resulting in higher overall skin cancer incidence rates. One-third of our state's population lives in Albuquerque, located 5,311 feet above sea level, which receives one of the highest rates of solar ultraviolet (UV) radiation exposure in the nation.
Healthy People Objective: C-8, Reduce the melanoma cancer death rateU.S. Target: 2.4 deaths per 100,000 population
Other ObjectivesOther HP2020 objectives relevant to melanoma deaths include:
C-20: Increase the proportion of persons who participate in behaviors that reduce their exposure to harmful ultraviolet (UV) irradiation and avoid sunburn
C-20.1: (Developmental) Reduce the proportion of adolescents in grades 9 through 12 who report sunburn
C-20.2: (Developmental) Reduce the proportion of adults aged 18 years and older who report sunburn
C-20.3: Reduce the proportion of adolescents in grades 9 through 12 who report using artificial sources of ultraviolet light for tanning
C-20.4: Reduce the proportion of adults aged 18 and older who report using artificial sources of ultraviolet light for tanning
C-20.5: Increase the proportion of adolescents in grades 9 through 12 who follow protective measures that may reduce the risk of skin cancer
C-20.6: Increase the proportion of adults aged 18 years and older who follow protective measures that may reduce the risk of skin cancer
How Are We Doing?The rate of death from melanoma skin cancer among New Mexicans has remained fairly stable at around 2 to 3 deaths per 100,000 from 1999-2017, and has been below the Healthy People 2020 goal of 2.4 per 100,000 population at several points between 1999-2017.
However, some groups are more likely to die from melanoma than others. Whites die at significantly higher rates than other racial/ethnic groups in New Mexico, and men die at significantly higher rates than women.
How Do We Compare With the U.S.?Age-adjusted melanoma mortality rates have remained fairly stable and are very similar for New Mexico and the United States overall at around 2 to 3 deaths per 100,000 from 1999-2017.
What Is Being Done?Blistering sunburn in childhood and adolescence is an almost universal risk factor for melanoma in White populations. Potentially, the greatest reductions in the numbers of melanoma skin cancer cases could come from preventive strategies. Communities throughout the state participate in the New Mexico Department of Health Comprehensive Cancer Program's RAYS Project - Raising Awareness in Youth about Sun Safety. Elementary school kids are taught the importance of being sun safe to reduce the risk of future skin cancer. The project focuses on policy changes such as allowing children to wear hats during recess, in addition to personal behaviors such as staying out of the sun and covering up with long sleeves and hats. Since 2002, more than 40,000 children, parents and community members have been reached with educational messages about sun safety through the RAYS Project.
Evidence-based PracticesThe CDC's Guide to Community Preventive Services provides information on evidence-based education and policy approaches that aim to increase behaviors such as:
-reducing sun exposure, especially during peak hours
-improving knowledge and attitudes about sun protection among children and adults
-changing policies and creating sun-safe environments including more shade structures
Health Program InformationVisit the New Mexico Department of Health Comprehensive Cancer Program website at: http://archive.cancernm.org/ccp/