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Women's Risk for a Certain Skin Cancer Varies by Geography
Date:3/13/2008

Study finds more squamous cell carcinomas in southern U.S. states

THURSDAY, March 13 (HealthDay News) -- An American woman's risk of developing the skin cancer called squamous cell carcinoma appears to increase if she lives in areas where UV radiation is high, such as in the South, a new study found.

The risk of developing another type of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma, appears to be only moderately affected by living in areas with high UV (ultraviolet) radiation. And the chance of developing melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, is not significantly affected by where you live, the researchers said.

"There's an increased risk of skin cancer in general, as you know, from North to South," said lead researcher Dr. Abrar A. Qureshi, of the Department of Dermatology at the Channing Laboratory of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School. "So for people living in areas where there is more sun around, the risk of skin cancer is higher, as we've known for decades."

"But what we found was that squamous cell carcinoma was very much related to the North-South difference," Qureshi added. "Women living in the South had a twofold increased risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma, compared with women living in the North."

However, there was no statistically significant difference for developing melanoma, whether women lived in the North or the South, Qureshi said. "We're not saying that melanoma risk doesn't increase with sun exposure, but compared to women living in the North, women in the South did not have a significantly increased risk of melanoma," he said.

The findings were published in the March 10 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common form of skin cancer, with more than 250,000 new cases diagnosed each year in the United States. Most squamous cell cancers aren't serious, particularly if they're diagnos
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