Risk Factors for Melanoma in Women

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

One example of malignant melanoma, courtesy of skin cancer foundation

One example of malignant melanoma, courtesy of Skin Cancer Foundation

Reza Ghiasvand, PhD
Oslo Centre for Biostatistics and Epidemiology
Faculty of Medicne
University of Oslo
Oslo, Norway 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer. It is estimated that about 288,000 individuals will be diagnosed and about 61,000 will die from it in 2018, with the majority of patients in Australia, New Zealand, Europe and North America. Ultraviolet (UV) exposure (from both the sun and tanning beds) is the most important preventable risk factor for melanoma. However, the association between UV exposure and melanoma is complex and does not accord with a simple model in which risk increases directly with exposure. An individual risk of melanoma also depends on personal characteristics such as skin color and skin sensitivity to the UV exposure, hair color, number of moles, and age.

It has been hypothesized that the pattern of UV exposure may play a role in melanoma development in different body sites. For example, melanoma on the trunk (chest and back) has been linked to the recreational UV exposure such as sunbathing and frequent sunburns in people with high number of moles on their body. In contrast, melanomas on the head and neck have been linked to constant sun exposure such as occupational UV exposure, mainly in older people. Epidemiologic and molecular evidence in support of this hypothesis has been published based on analyses of small datasets. Also, melanoma on legs and arms is less studied under this hypothesis.

In our study, we examined UV exposure (sunbathing, sunburn and sunbed use) and pigmentary factors (skin, eye, and hair color, freckling, and number of moles), and risk of melanoma on different body sites. We used information from the Norwegian Women and Cancer Study, a population-based cohort study that started in 1991, and includes more than 161,000 Norwegian women followed for an average of 18 years.

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Clothing Patterns of Boys Compared to Girls May Explain Differences in Patterns of Mole Development

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Lori A. Crane, PhD Department of Community and Behavioral Health Colorado School of Public Health University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora CO

Dr. Crane

Lori A. Crane, PhD
Department of Community and Behavioral Health
Colorado School of Public Health
University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus,
Aurora CO 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Nevi, which are commonly called “moles”, are brown or black spots on the skin that are usually raised.  Moles are the number one risk factor for malignant melanoma, the most dangerous kind of skin cancer.  About 9,000 people die of melanoma each year in the U.S. The more moles a person has, the higher their risk for melanoma.  Sun exposure is a major factor in the development of moles, and in order to prevent melanoma, it is important to better understand how moles are formed on the skin.

Most moles are formed during childhood and adolescence.  We studied non-Hispanic and Hispanic white children age 3-16 and found that non-Hispanic children developed many more moles than Hispanic children.  Overall, boys developed more moles than girls, but there were some important differences.  For parts of the skin that are often covered by clothing but sometimes exposed to the sun, such as the chest and back, upper arms and upper legs, girls developed more moles than boys, especially among Hispanic children.  In contrast, for parts of the skin that are usually exposed to the sun, such as the face, boys developed many more moles than girls.  The development of moles leveled off by age 16 for parts of the skin usually exposed to the sun, while for the less often exposed skin, children continued to develop moles to age 16.

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In Global Survey, Risks of Sun Exposure and Tanning Not Well Known

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Sophie Seite

Dr. Sophie Seite

Sophie Seite, Ph. D
La Roche-Posay Dermatological Laboratories
Asnières, France.

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The survey included nearly 20,000 men and women in 23 countries, ages 16-65, and was primarily conducted online. The questionnaire collected data regarding demographics, sun exposure, behaviors regarding prevention and tanning, risk knowledge, self-examination, medical advice seeking, and social attitude. This unprecedented international survey on sun exposure behaviors and skin cancer detection found that there are many imperfections and geographical inequalities in primary and secondary prevention of skin cancer.

The study was published in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology & Venereology by researchers from La Roche-Posay and the George Washington University (GW) Department of Dermatology. Survey results indicate that 88 percent of those questioned were aware of the risks of developing skin cancer when exposed without protection to the sun. However, just 1 in 2 respondents has ever consulted a dermatologist for a mole screening and 4 in 10 people don’t think to protect themselves from the sun outside of vacation.

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How Closely Is Melanoma Survival Linked To Sun Exposure?

Marianne Berwick, PhD, MPH for the GEM Study Team Professor, Division of Epidemiology University of New Mexico, Department of Internal Medicine New Mexico Cancer Research Facility University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Marianne Berwick, PhD, MPH for the GEM Study Team
Professor, Division of Epidemiology
University of New Mexico, Department of Internal Medicine
New Mexico Cancer Research Facility
University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131

Medical Research: What are the main findings of this study?

Dr. Berwick: In our study of Sun Exposure and Melanoma Survival: A GEM Study we found that there is little strong evidence that sun exposure at any time in life influences melanoma-specific survival. This study took place in Australia, Italy, Canada and the United States among 3,578 individuals newly diagnosed with melanoma, who we followed for a mean of 7.4 years.

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Increased Sun Exposure Decreased Folate Levels In Women of Childbearing Age

MedicalResearch.com Interview with
Michael Kimlin Professor of Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation Queensland University of Technology AustraliaMichael Kimlin
Professor of Cancer Prevention Research
Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Queensland University of Technology
Australia


MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Answer: The main findings of this study were that women who where classified as having the highest level of sun exposure in our sample had a significantly larger drop in blood folate levels compared to women with lower sun exposures. This was quite a powerful finding, as all women were supplemented with folate and tested so that so that we knew that each sun exposure group had similar average levels of blood folate at the start of the study. We then measured their sun exposure over a week and took a sample of blood at the end of this week to see how the degree of sun exposure affected folate levels.

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