Melanoma on the rise especially in women

Melanoma on the rise especially in women

Between 1970 and 2009, cases of cutaneous melanoma have risen drastically, especially among young women under the age of 40.

According to a population-based study carried out by researchers from the Mayo Clinic and published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, the incidence of melanoma has increased over the last forty years by a factor of eight in women and by a factor of four in men.

These rates are higher than those published by the National Cancer Institute, especially the rate among young women under forty.

Using information gleaned from telephone surveys, researchers suggest that lifestyle and gender-specific decisions could be behind some of the numbers, with young women more likely than young men to use indoor tanning beds.

Because of the increased incidence, Mayo Clinic researchers “strongly recommend” skin cancer screening in young adults, even though mortality rates from melanoma have decreased over the years.

Source: HemOnc Today

photo by John Nyboer

Penn State University researchers are asserting what some beach goers might say is sacrelige: that there is no longer any such thing as a suntan that is safe for humans.

Melanoma incidence is substantially higher than it was in 1970–eight times higher in women and four times higher in men–and with 60,000 new diagnoses every year and one American dying every hour from the disease, it has become a health crisis.

Curiously, many of these cases may actually be fully avoidable, as usage among women of tanning beds has been rising rapidly, with four of every five clients being female, and a good ten percent of the US population using tanning beds annually.

Despite the obvious warnings to tanning bed users, they, like cigarette smokers, continue to use the tanning beds, making melanoma one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in young people in the 20s.

A US Congressional Report published in February asserted that the multi-billion dollar tanning industry targets teenage girls with heavy promotions and advertising, and it accuses the industry of knowingly denying these risks while giving out false information to the public, even going so far as to issue misleading data on the benefits of tanning. These tactics are familiar-they have been carried out by the tobacco industry, as well as the mesothilioma industry, benzene and vinyl chloride, to name a few.

The World Health Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies tanning beds as human carcinogens, along with cigarettes, arsenic, plutonium and mustard gas, to name just a few.

By signing Senate Bill 746, California Governor Jerry Brown has made his state the first state to ban children under the age of 18 from using indoor tanning beds.

Governor Brown signed the bill into law based on the link between tanning beds and the meteoric rise in the rates of skin cancer, specifically melanoma, among 15-39 year olds.

The bill was co-sponsored by AIM at Melanoma, a foundation dedicated to melanoma research and patient advocacy, as well as the California Society of Dermatology & Dermatological Surgery.

The bill replaces the current law, which required kids between the ages of 14 to 17 to obtain parental permission to use a tanning bed.

Of the Governor’s signing the bill, Valerie Guild, president and founder of AIM at Melanoma, had nothing but praise for Governor Brown’s decision, saying, “This is a major victory in the fight against melanoma. It is alarming that so many young women are unnecessarily developing melanoma because of a recreational activity.”

It is estimated that the use of tanning beds by people under age 20 have double their risk of developing melanoma–one of the biggest cancer-related killers of women between 25 and 30.

Source: Medical News Today


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