Boston and New England at large had some of the highest rates of skin cancer in the country.
These rates are far worse than sunnier states in the South.
The Center for Disease Control has data incidents from 1999-2011 which show that: Vermont had 29 skin cancer incidents per 100,000 people, the highest age0adjuested rate among all states. Massachusetts, New Hampshire Connecticut, Rhode Island and Maine all rank in the top quarter of states for skin cancer rates.
Researchers have determined that skin cancer’s prevalence in New England and the Pacific Northwest is because of skin color and behavior.
According to the CDC, non-Hispanic whites have much higher rates of being diagnosed with skin cancer. Census data shows that Massachusetts is 83% white, Vermont is 95% white and New Hampshire is 94% white.
These states have much higher rates of skin cancer than states like Hawaii which is almost as sunny, but is only 27% white.
The other reason New England has such high rates of melanoma is related to behavior and frequency of using sunscreen. Although New England is frequently cloudy, clouds do not fully block the sun’s harmful UV rays.
New Englanders with their milder summers and more frigid winters tend to be less concerned with sunscreen use than residents of sunnier states such as Florida.
In order to curb the exorbitantly high number of skin cancer diagnosis in Massachusetts, Matt O’Malley, a Boston City Councilor, riled a proposal to install free sunscreen dispensers at city parks and playgrounds. This is a program inspired by a Miami Beach Program.