The Newnan Times-Herald


Georgia “dangerously unconcerned” about skin cancer, according to dermatologists

  • By Kandice Bell
  • |
  • Jun. 11, 2019 - 10:15 PM

When the weather gets warmer, the layers come off, but are people prepared for summer sun exposure?

Not enough, according to a recent analysis by

Findings show one in five states are "dangerously unconcerned" about skin cancer, given their populations' risk. Georgia is the sixth worst in the U.S. for skin cancer risk and 34th for its level of concern.

Skin cancer rates are higher in Delaware, Vermont and Minnesota than in California, Florida and Texas.

It is a phenomenon dermatologists have understood for quite some time – people in states with intermittent sun exposure are less vigilant in preventing sunburn. Anyone who has lived in the Midwest or Northeast has seen evidence of this after that first bright, sunny day in May or June.

People cannot help themselves. They overdo it.

By measuring Google search trends at a state level, a study was able to determine where in the country people are most and least actively concerned about skin cancer. And, by comparing local levels of concern to local levels of risk, a nationwide portrait of America’s relationship with skin cancer prevention emerged.

A list was comprised, ranking all 50 U.S. states from the most extremely concerned to the most dangerously unconcerned. States are designated at various levels based on how their concern matches up with their level of risk.


In September 2018, an analysis of Google search trends related to awareness and prevention of skin cancer was conducted. Seven search terms that indicate some level of interest in or concern for skin cancer prevention were identified:

– how to prevent skin cancer

– skin cancer prevention

– how to prevent melanoma

– skin cancer risk

– best sun protection

– best sunscreen

– best UV protection  

The data gathered represents rolling averages of the preceding 12 months of search volume, in each of the 50 states.

Search volume was evaluated in terms of state populations in order to produce a metric representing each state’s relative level of concern.

The study then compared levels of concern to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control, which indicates rates of skin cancer occurrence in each U.S. state. Comparing the levels of concern against the relative risk in each state, states were ranked along a spectrum of concern, spanning from an extreme level of concern to a dangerous lack of concern.