Sometimes when we think of skin cancer and melanoma we think of it affecting ourselves, our loved ones and close friends. Rarely do we expand our thoughts to think of the people all around the world who are also thinking the same thoughts. Skin cancer and melanoma see no boundaries in race, age, or geographical location. There are some parts of the world that are more affected by the disease than others. I wanted to share an article from Forbes.com that highlights the World’s Skin Cancer Hot Spots. Their post included pictures of the different countries. I thought I would include a map of the world so that you could get a perspective on the reach skin cancer has on people all around the world.

The top 5 Skin Cancer Hot Spots are:

5. Eastern Europe and Central Asia

These two made the top of the list because of their geographical location. “Latitude and altitude also play roles, since the sun is more direct and UV radiation levels higher in latitudes close to the equator; a thin atmosphere absorbs less UV radiation at high altitudes.”

4.Australia, Asia Pacific and East Asia

Australia and New Zealand have the highest incidence and mortality rate in the world. They didn’t make the top of the list “because of the inclusion of Japan, which has a low rate of disease attributable to UV radiation as well as a relatively large population.”

3.Europe

2.Eastern Europe

The high rate of skin cancer is attributed to the fact that Europeans often enjoy the majority of their holidays in the sun.

1.North America and Cuba

The majority of the public still tend to seek out a good tan; by tanning indoors, laying out at the beach and pool or ignoring good sun protection habits.
Other reasons for the high or low occurrence of skin cancer?

  • Migration Patterns: The fair British and European ancestors of Australians have “created a scenario in which most people’s skin pigmentation are no longer suited to their environments.”  Shorter migrations also know as vacations have played a role in the Europeans skin cancer numbers. Many have their holidays in sunny locations such as South France and “let their guard down” when it comes to sun protection.
  • Cultural Differences: Cultural differences are a major factor. Americans still believe a tan makes you look healthy, which could be the reason we made the top of the list. In the Asian countries “tanning is far less culturally acceptable and is associated with a lower socio-economic status.”  ”Many countries with large Muslim populations fell toward the bottom of the list likely because their skin pigmentation, a traditional style of dress that’s protective against high ambient UV radiation and an adaptation in behavior over the years.”

Source: Forbes.com