Skin cancer rates in men have lowered, while more women are being diagnosed with Melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer, according to recent research by the National Cancer Institute.
Melanoma is a rare type of skin cancer responsible for the majority of skin cancer related deaths. Surgery is currently the only effective cure.
The National Cancer Institute estimates 62,480 new melanoma cases will be diagnosed in the United States in 2008 and 8,420 will die from the disease.
Research based on a government cancer data from 1973 to 2004; found new cases of melanoma in young women had surged by 50 percent from 1980, while rates in young men remained the same during the same period.
“It’s disconcerting,” said Mark Purdue, a researcher at the National Cancer Institute, the lead researcher of the study. “What the research indicates in young adults right now could foretell a larger number of melanoma cases in older women.”
Researchers did not explore the causes that have lead to the incline in new melanoma cases, but speculate indoor tanning and more time spent outdoors with inadequate sunscreen protections are likely risk factors. Women are more likely to visit indoor tanning salons then men making them more prone to risk.
Cancer statistics of women and men between the ages of 15 to 30 that were gathered through the National Cancer Institutes SEER Program, a network of regional cancer registries, were reviewed by Purdue and his research team.
New melanoma cases in young men increased to 4.7 per 100,000 in 1973 compared to 7.7 cases per 100,000 per year in 1980, but then they began tapering off.
In comparison melanoma rates in young women climbed from 5.5 cases per 100,000 per year in 1973 to 9.4 new cases per year in 1980 and continued to increase up to 13.9 in 2004.
Lack of safe sunscreen and too much sun exposure are both contributing factors to the steep increase in melanoma diagnoses among women. While recent studies suggest short amounts of sun exposure is needed for Vitamin D and overall good health, it is important to do so in a safe and healthy way to avoid the risk of skin cancer.
"The take-home message is: Unprotected outdoor ultraviolet exposure is dangerous," said C. William Hanke, of the American Academy of Dermatology. "Ultraviolet radiation is a carcinogen. If you bathe your skin in the ultraviolet light carcinogen long enough, skin cancer is going to develop."
The study was published in the July 10 edition of the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.
A separate study recently found that four out of five sunscreens
insufficiently protect skin from the sun’s harmful rays and contain
chemicals that are potentially harmful. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has a
Guide – that includes a detailed list of 143 products that are safe and
offer adequate protection from the sun. #