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Melanoma Rates Soar Among Younger Women
Date:7/10/2008

But rates of the cancer in young men haven't changed, study says

THURSDAY, July 10 (HealthDay News) -- Cases of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, are increasing sharply among younger women in the United States, but not among younger men, a new study says.

"These findings are important, because they suggest that public education campaigns to educate Americans about the risks of skin cancer from sun tanning do not appear to have resulted in a reduction in melanoma rates among young women," said lead researcher Mark Purdue, of the National Cancer Institute's Division of Cancer Epidemiology & Genetics.

"We observed a 50 percent increase in the annual incidence of melanoma among young adult Caucasian women between 1980 and 2004," he added.

The number of cases among young women increased from 9.4 per 100,000 in 1980 to 13.9 per 100,000 in 2004, according to the report, published in the July 10 online edition of the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.

For the study, Purdue's team collected data on the incidence of melanoma among white men and women, 15 to 39 years of age. The researchers used data from the cancer institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results Program, which is a network of regional cancer registries that record all newly diagnosed cancers.

In addition to the rising rates of melanoma among younger women, the researchers found an increasing trend for thicker and later-stage melanomas, which suggests that the increase isn't the result of better reporting of the disease.

Purdue said it's not clear what's driving the melanoma trend among younger women.

"The leveling off in melanoma rates for young men gives cause for optimism regarding a possible reduction in future trends in older men," Purdue said. "However, our findings for young women suggest that we may see increasing rates of melanoma among older women for some time to come."


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