Skin cancer rate jumps in young adults - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Skin cancer rate jumps in young adults

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A new Mayo Clinic study says that skin cancer is on the rise in adults younger than 40, particularly in young women. A new Mayo Clinic study says that skin cancer is on the rise in adults younger than 40, particularly in young women.

(RNN) - The Mayo Clinic announced the rate of skin cancer is on the rise, especially for those age 40 and younger.

Dr. Jerry Brewer said that the rise is particularly dramatic for women in their 20s and 30s. Melanoma increased by eight times in women, and by four times in men.

The data for the study comes from the Rochester Epidemiology Project; a database of patient care in Olmsted County, MN. Researchers examined first-time diagnoses of melanoma patients ages 18 to 39 from 1970 to 2009.

Researchers are speculating that the increased use of tanning beds is the main factor in the increase of skin cancer in young women.

A recent study reported that those who frequently used tanning beds were 74 percent more likely to develop melanoma. More women use tanning beds then men.

The Indoor Tanning Association said in a news release on its website it was "surprised" the Mayo Clinic made the link between tanning beds and increases in skin cancer rates.

However, the World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended that no one younger than 18 should use a tanning because recent studies show a direct link between the beds and skin cancer.

In 2009, the WHO moved UV tanning beds to its highest cancer risk category.

The Mayo Clinic study also said that sunburns in childhood and ultraviolet exposure in adulthood could also be a factor in melanoma.

Mayo dermatologist Dr. Kurtis Reed told Minnesota Public Radio the study's findings would only apply to a population similar to that in the study. Olmsted County is 85 percent white.

However, over the years, researchers discovered mortality rates from skin cancer have improved, likely due to early detection.

"People are now more aware of their skin and of the need to see a doctor when they see changes," Dr. Brewer said. "As a result, many cases may be caught before the cancer advances to a deep melanoma, which is harder to treat."

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