23 Feb 2011
he American Cancer Society’s key document measuring cancer rates in the United States — “Cancer Facts and Figures” — says that melanoma rates have not increased since 2000 and that rates are declining for women under age 50 — directly contradicting what ACS lobbyists have testified to state legislative panels this year.
“During the 1970’s, the incidence rate of melanoma increased rapidly by about 6 percent per year. However, from 1981-2000, the rate of increase slowed to 3 percent per year and since 2000 melanoma incidence has been stable,” the ACS “Cancer Facts and Figures 2008” reports. “The death rate for melanoma has been decreasing rapidly in whites younger than 50, by 3 percent per year since 1991 in men and by 2.3 percent per year since 1985 in women.”
ACS lobbyists — calling for legislation to further restrict teenage usage of indoor tanning — have falsely testified that melanoma rates are increasing in young women.
“Dermatology’s contention that melanoma is increasing in young women is totally anecdotal — it amounts to nothing more than cosmetic doctors saying that they see more young women,” Smart Tan Vice President Joseph Levy said. “But they see more young women because that’s who they market all their cosmetic services to. It’s well-documented that dermatology has always had an extremely high percentage of young female clients compared to every other medical discipline.”
The National Cancer Institute’s charts show that melanoma is increasing rapidly in men over age 50, but is on the decline in women under 50. “Yet no public health campaigns are directed at men,” Levy said.