Melanoma up 50% in women

July 11, 2008|By Los Angeles Times

Melanoma rates have risen almost 50 percent among young women in the U.S. since 1980, a trend that may be related to an increase in the use of tanning parlors and exposure to the sun's damaging rays, according to a report released yesterday.

Among young men, melanoma rates have remained steady, the report found.

The most lethal of the skin cancers, melanoma occurs in pigment-producing skin cells. The American Cancer Society estimates that 62,480 new cases and 8,420 deaths will occur from melanoma in the U.S. this year.

Exposure to ultraviolet radiation is the biggest risk factor for developing the cancer, although genetic factors can also contribute. People with fair skin are most at risk, but melanoma occurs in people of all races and skin tones.

The report in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology analyzed more than 20,000 cases of melanoma in adults ages 15 to 39. It said that the melanoma incidence rate in young women rose to 13.9 per 100,000 in 2004 from 9.4 per 100,000 in 1980.

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