The incidence of cutaneous melanoma has risen during the last four decades, especially among young women, according to study results.
Using Rochester Epidemiology Project (REP) data from 1970 through 2009, investigators analyzed the incidence of cutaneous melanoma in 256 adults, aged 18 to 39 years, in Olmsted County, Minnesota. The study comprised 179 women and 77 men. The investigators’ primary intent was to estimate the incidence of melanoma by sex and age in one specific county. Several other factors, such as histologic subtypes and mortality, also were assessed.
Although men are at a higher lifetime risk for melanoma than women, the incidence of melanoma increased eightfold among young women and fourfold among young men during the study period. The age-adjusted incidence was higher for women than men (23.2 vs. 10.8 cases per 100,000 person-years; P<.001.)
The investigators suggested that younger women are more likely to use tanning beds and artificial sunlamps, with UV light being recognized as harmful to the skin. This may partly account for the higher incidence of melanoma in this age group, researchers wrote.
Despite the increase in melanoma incidence, overall survival appears to have improved, researchers said. Still, investigators said better early skin cancer screening is needed, as is the necessity for young people to be warned of the potential dangers of tanning in both natural sunlight and in UV light.
“Our results emphasize the importance of active interventions to decrease risk factors associated with melanoma in young individuals,” researchers concluded.
Disclosure: Researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.