Melanoma rates rising for boomers, falling among young

February 5, 2018 by Steven Reinberg, Healthday Reporter

(HealthDay)—It looks like public health efforts to warn younger Americans about the dangers of tanning beds and sun exposure are paying off.

Rates of the deadly skin cancer known as have dropped among Americans aged 15 to 44, a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows.

Unfortunately, baby boomers who baked themselves in baby oil during their youth are now paying the price as they age, with more than 70 percent of melanoma cases now being diagnosed in those over 55.

Dr. Doris Day, a dermatologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, said the warnings about the dangers of ultraviolet (UV) ray exposure are working.

"The study shows that melanoma is decreasing slightly among younger adults, which is an indication that our efforts to ban indoor among minors, and educate children and teens about the dangers of sunburns and tanning is having an impact," she said.

If this trend continues, then cases of melanoma should eventually decline in all , Day added.

"I would hope and expect that as this data is collected over decades, we will also see the older population have a corresponding decrease in melanoma rates as we see their exposure to UV rays decrease in their early years," she said.

Melanoma is the third most common type of skin cancer, said the study's lead researcher, Dawn Holman, a behavioral scientist in the CDC's Division of Cancer Prevention and Control. Each year, more than 70,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with it, and more than 9,000 die from it, the report noted.

"Melanoma is often caused by overexposure to UV rays from the sun or artificial sources like tanning beds," Holman said.

The steady increase in melanoma rates among older adults indicates a need to continue promoting sun safety throughout adulthood, she added.

But, "the slight decrease in melanoma rates among is good news and may be related to a decrease in UV exposure among younger age groups," Holman explained.

For the study, the investigators used data from the CDC's National Program of Cancer Registries and the U.S. National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results Program.

The researchers found that the rate of melanoma increased significantly between January 2005 and December 2014 among all white adults.

However, when broken down by age groups, melanoma rates decreased among whites aged 15 to 44, Holman said. "We observed similar patterns when examining trends among men and women separately," she added.

Specifically, melanoma rates among white men ranged from 2 per 100,000 among those aged 15 to 24, to nearly 200 per 100,000 among those older than 85.

Among white women, rates ranged from nearly 5 per 100,000 among those 15 to 24, to nearly 61 per 100,000 among those older than 85, the researchers found.

People of all ages can benefit from protecting their skin, Holman said.

"Plan ahead and make sun protection part of your routine. When spending time outdoors, wear protective clothing, apply sunscreen on exposed skin and seek shade, especially during midday when the sun is most intense," she suggested.

This combined approach works better than relying on sunscreen alone, she added.

Moreover, people should avoid sunbathing and indoor tanning altogether. "Simply put, tanning your skin is damaging your ," Holman said.

The report was published online Jan. 31 in the journal JAMA Dermatology.

Explore further: Women younger than 40 at melanoma diagnosis indoor tanned earlier, more

More information: Dawn Holman, M.P.H., behavioral scientist, Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Doris Day, M.D., dermatologist, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; Jan. 31, 2018, JAMA Dermatology, online

For more on melanoma, visit the American Cancer Society.

Related Stories

Women younger than 40 at melanoma diagnosis indoor tanned earlier, more

January 27, 2016
Women younger than 40 when diagnosed with melanoma reported initiating indoor tanning at an earlier age and more frequent tanning than older women diagnosed with the potentially fatal skin cancer, according to an article ...

Melanoma expert discusses dangers of indoor tanning

March 4, 2016
As spring break plans are being finalized, many people are heading for the tanning salons to get that beach-ready glow. 

Should there be age restrictions on tanning beds?

December 29, 2015
Earlier this month, the Food and Drug Administration proposed steps to prevent the use of indoor tanning beds. They want to restrict usage to people 18 years of age and older, and they want tanning bed manufacturers and facilities ...

Indoor tanning dependency common in young women, especially in those with depression

October 19, 2017
A survey of young, white women who have used indoor tanning at least once in the past year showed that more than one in five of them have signs of being addicted to the high dose of ultraviolet (UV) radiation from tanning ...

Indoor tanning, even without burning, increases the risk of melanoma

May 28, 2014
People sometimes use indoor tanning in the belief that this will prevent burns when they tan outdoors. However, indoor tanning raises the risk of developing melanoma even if a person has never had burns from either indoor ...

Sunbed users get melanoma at a younger age

January 13, 2017
Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer with the strongest increase in incidence in the last decade, and the incidence rates have never been as high as in 2014 (www.kreftregisteret.no). Now there are about 2,000 ...

Recommended for you

Scientists discover new method of diagnosing cancer with malaria protein

August 17, 2018
In a spectacular new study, researchers from the University of Copenhagen have discovered a method of diagnosing a broad range of cancers at their early stages by utilising a particular malaria protein that sticks to cancer ...

Researchers find pathways that uncover insight into development of lung cancer

August 17, 2018
Lung cancer is the leading cause of preventable cancer death. A disease of complex origin, lung cancer is usually considered to result from effects of smoking and from multiple genetic variants. One of these genetic components, ...

Developing an on-off switch for breast cancer treatment

August 17, 2018
T-cells play an important role in the body's immune system, and one of their tasks is to find and destroy infection. However, T-cells struggle to identify solid, cancerous tumors in the body. A current cancer therapy is using ...

Pregnant? Eating broccoli sprouts may reduce child's chances of breast cancer later in life

August 16, 2018
Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham have found that a plant-based diet is more effective in preventing breast cancer later in life for the child if the mother consumed broccoli while pregnant. The 2018 ...

Scientists discover chemical which can kill glioblastoma cells

August 15, 2018
Aggressive brain tumour cells taken from patients self-destructed after being exposed to a chemical in laboratory tests, researchers have shown.

Three scientists share $500,000 prize for work on cancer therapy

August 15, 2018
Tumors once considered untreatable have disappeared and people previously given months to live are surviving for decades thanks to new therapies emerging from the work of three scientists chosen to receive a $500,000 medical ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.