Medical News Report: News is not good in the skin cancer department. It seems more women are developing melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer; particularly young women under age 40.
The rise in melanoma cases is not completely understood, but researchers suggest several new trends promoting sun exposure and skin damage may be to blame. More people in the U.S. are getting sunburns each year or spending time at the beach, and more young people - especially women - are using tanning beds, reported Kelley Colihan in WebMD Health News in 2008.
A more recent study from the U.K. found that melanoma has overtaken cervical cancer as the top cancer for women in their 20s. The U.K. researchers also target tanning beds as a likely source for the melanoma surge.
“Spending time on sunbeds is just as dangerous as staying out too long in the sun,” said Caroline Cerny of Cancer Research U.K., as reported in The Huffington Post. Even though women usually stay in the tanning booths for less than an hour, “the intensity of UV rays in some sunbeds can be more than 10 times stronger than the midday sun,” she said.
The researchers point out that increases in melanoma among young women included many cases where the cancer was more advanced and associated with a higher risk for spread (metastasis) throughout the body.
“If you think you may be at risk for skin cancer, you should discuss this concern with your doctor,” advises the National Cancer Institute. “Your doctor may be able to suggest ways to reduce your risk and can plan a schedule for check ups.”
Colihan, K., July 2008. WebMD Health News, “Study Shows Increase in Melanoma Among Young Women,”
No author, April 2009. Huffington Post, “Skin Cancer Now Most Common Cancer Among Young Women in UK: Study,”
National Cancer Institute, “What You Need to Know About Melanoma,”
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