Study: Skin Cancer Most Prevalent in U.S.

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The number of cases of skin cancer is reaching epidemic proportions, according to two new studies.

Researchers on both projects say the disease affects more people than all other cancers combined.

"The prevalence of a history of skin cancer is far higher than that of any other cancer and exceeds that of all other cancers diagnosed since 1975," Dr. Robert Stern, of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School in Boston, Mass., said in one study.

In 2006, there were more than 3.5 million non-melanoma skin cancers and more than 2 million Americans were treated for the disease. Doctors said that is a 16 percent increase from 2002.

The studies also found that the number of procedures to treat skin cancer among Medicare beneficiaries from 1992 to 2006 increased by 76.9 percent.

Advocates said tanning beds could have something to do with the increase. Some states are considering outlawing tanning beds for people under 18.

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