Rise of Melanoma cases in Young Adults, mostly Women

Rise of Melanoma

The health officials as well as researchers are concerned about the sudden outbreak in skin cancer rates among the young adults. Therefore, they are looking out for the possible risk factors like the tanning salons in specific, as women mostly use tanning beds.

According to the April issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings based on Mayo Clinic study, Women under the age of 40 are becoming victims of increasing incidents of melanoma. As per the records examined by the researchers from decades old database of every patient care in Olmsted County of Minnesota, the researchers found eightfold growth of melanoma cases among women and fourfold for men. These finding are derived from the first-time diagnoses of melanoma in patients aging between 18 and 39 years from the period of 1970 to 2009.

“We need to get away from the idea that skin cancer is an older person’s disease,” says Jerry Brewer, a report co-author and dermatologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. The authors also reported that the gender specific behaviour addressed in other studies might explain the findings by them. “Young women are more likely than young men to participate in activities that increase risk for melanoma, including voluntary exposure to artificial sunlamps.”

The study points out that while the cases of other cancers are decreasing, the melanoma cases are increasing steadily. And women are at more risk due to steady rise in skin cancer as compared to men. “We’re very concerned about the melanoma rates and the damage done by early exposure to sun, but also the increasing use of tanning beds,” says physician Marcus Plescia (director of the division of cancer prevention for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

However, tanning industry is disagree to the allegations made by the study reports and is defending tanning lamps. “There is no consensus among researchers regarding the relationship between melanoma skin cancer and UV exposure either from the sun or a sunbed,” says executive director John Overstreet, Indoor Tanning Association. “I expect more from the Mayo Clinic. There is no direct link from their report to tanning beds.”

Although the Indoor Tanning Association is defending tanning lamps, the National Institutes of Health says that excess exposure to UV light increases the risk for skin cancers. It is to be noted that National Institutes of Health further describes the UV light as invisible radiation capable of damaging DNA in skin and can be generated by sun, sunlamps and tanning beds too.

Some of the other risk factors that may cause melanoma include severe sunburns as a child, an unusual number of moles, family history of melanoma and exposure to Ultraviolet light. Melanoma is serious type of skin cancer and is likely to cause death. Mostly people at 50 years of age and over are more likely to fall pray of skin cancer.

Some of the symptoms of skin cancer include changes in an existing mole and development of an unusual growth on skin, as per Mayo Clinic. It is to be noted that people with fair skin are more prone to skin cancer. Also, the study report noted that the most population of Olmsted County is white. Supporting the study, a Dermatologist Dr. Kavita Mariwalla (director of dermatological surgery at Beth Israel Medical Center, New York) said, “Tanning before prom or big events has become a ‘norm’ for many teenagers. What they don’t know is that each time they visit a tanning booth, their risk of skin cancer rises.”