Recent findings indicate that white women who get 5 or more sunburns throughout their adolescent years and early 20s have an increased risk of melanoma by 80%. These women are also at a higher risk for other types of skin cancers such as squamous cell carcinoma. The research indicates that the increased risk of melanoma was directly influenced by sun exposure and artificial ultra-violet light (UV) rays such as those from tanning beds; whereas other types of skin cancers are more predominantly caused by a combination of host factors.

Abrar Qureshi, MD, professor and chairmen of the Department of Dermatology at Brown University, conducted a study with a team of investigators to determine the increased risk of skin cancer in women as correlated with sunburns, and increased UV exposure. The study was published by the Journal of Cancer Epidemiology: Biomarkers and Prevention and was conducted on a sample population of approx.109, 000 women for 20 years.
The women were aged 25-42 and lived in 14 different states. Statistical analyses assessed genetic, demographic and socio-demographic factors to correlate various lifestyle behaviors with the disease, such as smoking and alcohol intake. Doctor Qureshi also spoke of the importance of parents educating their young children of the dangers of sun exposure and tanning beds.

“Parents may need to be advised to pay more attention to protection in early life.”

The investigators found that the women had more than 5 sunburns between the ages of 15- 20 years, and one quarter admitted to going to tanning salons. The highest risk is evident in the earlier years with women who experienced numerous burns. 780 were diagnosed with melanoma and nearly 7,000 with basal carcinoma.

Source: WebMD, HealthDay.

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