They put their lives at risk to defend our nation and trust the U.S. Government will provide for their health and well being along the way. As we honor Veterans and those currently serving in our Military, let’s take a moment to consider an unexpected risk they did not sign up for; death from melanoma and other skin cancers.
Melanoma diagnosis is on the rise both among veterans and in active duty service personnel. The numbers are especially high among young people currently serving in the Navy, Marines and Air Force. Those who serve as pilots have the highest rate of diagnosis.
It’s such a problem that the U.S. Department of Defense has targeted and directed 40 million dollars to melanoma research for Fiscal Year 2022. Why is military personnel, both past and present, at an accelerated for melanoma? Consider this:
Active military are exposed to extensive and dangerous levels of UV radiation while flying in the air, deployed on ships and assigned to remote harsh environments such as deserts. Sunscreen and UPF 50 clothing are not routinely available nor are annual skin screenings through trained dermatologists. Add to that years in service, and it is no surprise that so much money needs to be poured into treating melanoma and other skin cancers among our military.
Here’s a thought; wouldn’t melanoma prevention be a better solution; both in terms of life and economics? After all, melanoma is one of the most preventable of cancers.
Prevention is as simple as establishing sun safe education training, providing and distributing ample amounts of sunscreen, incorporating the use of UPF 50 materials in U.S. Military uniforms and off duty attire, and most importantly making routine dermatological skin screenings part of annual military health checks.
The brave men and women defending our country have enough to worry about. Let’s take melanoma and skin cancers off their plate.
Interested in learning more? Here’s some insight.