Latest numbers from the Centers for Disease Control show that Utah has twice as many cases of melanoma skin cancer as the national average.
In 2014, about 21 out of every 100,000 Americans was diagnosed with melanoma. In Utah, it’s 42 out of every 100,000 people.
Joelle Fierro with the state’s Cancer Control Network says Utah has consistently had higher-than-average melanoma rates, but rates have almost doubled since the 1990s.
Researchers aren’t sure exactly what caused the increase, but they have some ideas.
Utah has “a lot of people of northern European descent,” Fierro says. “We have a higher elevation and are closer to the sun, and also we have a lot of reflective surfaces that we are always out and about in: water, snow.”
Fierro says it’s important to keep applying sunscreen on exposed skin, even in the wintertime.