SUNDAY, April 1 (HealthDay News) -- New research highlights a dramatic increase in the rates of melanoma, a potentially fatal form of skin cancer, among young adults, with young women being hit the hardest.
According to the study, the incidence of melanoma increased eightfold among young women and fourfold among young men from 1970 through 2009.
The findings come from a population-based study by Mayo Clinic researchers using records from the Rochester Epidemiology Project, a decades-long database of all patient care in Olmsted County, Minn. The researchers looked for first-time diagnoses of melanoma in patients 18 to 39 from 1970 to 2009.
Dermatologists said these findings mirror what they are seeing in their own practices.
And the study researchers pointed to the rise in the use of indoor tanning beds as one of the main reasons behind the trend, but childhood sunburns and ultraviolet (UV) exposure in adulthood may also contribute to melanoma risk. The findings appear in the April issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings.
Although the rates of melanoma have increased, the study did show that fewer people are dying from skin cancer. Researchers credit early detection of skin cancer and prompt medical care for the improved survival rates.
"People are now more aware of their skin and of the need to see a doctor when they see changes," Mayo Clinic dermatologist Dr. Jerry Brewer said in a statement. "As a result, many cases may be caught before the cancer advances to a deep melanoma, which is harder to treat."
Dr. Jennifer Stein, an assistant professor at the Ronald O. Perelman department of dermatology at the NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, said that she is seeing a lot of young people, especially young women, with melanoma.
"Skin cancer awareness is up, and even though there is lots of information about the dangers of tanning beds, p
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