Most Melanomas Don’t Arise From Existing Moles, Study Shows

Excerpt:

“As the summer draws to a close, it’s time to start putting away flip-flops, bathing suits and beach bags. But as the seasonal supplies disappear into the back of the closet, sunscreen should stay within arm’s reach for year-round protection against the sun’s ultraviolet rays.

“Because exposure to those harmful UV rays can increase one’s risk of skin cancer — and people spend a lot of time in the sun during the summer — the end of the season is also a good time to perform a skin self-exam. While it’s important to look for any suspicious spots on the skin, research published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology indicates that it’s vital to check for new growths in order to detect melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.”

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Melanoma Survivors Should Take Extra Measures to Protect Their Children from Sun

“A new study has found that children whose parents are melanoma survivors are not receiving the best possible protection from the sun and ultraviolet radiation.

“This lack of protection can lead to sunburn, increasing the risk of melanoma for the children, who already face a substantially higher risk of developing the skin cancer due to their family history.

“Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer as well as one of the most common. In the US, in 2014, it was estimated that 76,100 new melanomas would be diagnosed with around 9,710 people dying from the disease. According to the American Cancer Society, melanoma rates have been rising for the past 30 years.

“The authors of the study, published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, state that childhood is estimated to be one of the most critical exposure periods for conferring risk.”


Melanoma Risk is Higher for Flight Crews that Work at 40,000 Feet

“Attention pilots and flight attendants: For your safety, please fasten your seat belts, note the location of the aircraft’s emergency exits — and be sure to apply plenty of sunscreen to reduce your risk of melanoma.

“When it comes to the risks of flying, skin cancer may not be the first health hazard that comes to mind. But a new study in JAMA Dermatology says that pilots are 2.22 times more likely than folks in the general population at large to be diagnosed with melanoma. For members of the cabin crew, the risk was 2.09 times greater.

“Melanoma is the sixth most common cancer in the United States, according to the National Cancer Institute. Although other types of skin cancer are diagnosed more frequently, melanoma is more likely to be fatal, the American Cancer Society says. An estimated 76,100 Americans will be diagnosed with melanoma this year, and about 9,710 will die from it.

“Dozens of studies have examined melanoma risk in flight crews, since working at 40,000 feet means greater exposure to cosmic rays and ultraviolet radiation. For the new study, researchers from UC San Francisco combed through data on 266,431 participants in 19 published studies to see whether the danger was real — and if so, how big it was.

“They found that for both pilots and flight attendants, the risk of developing melanoma was more than double the risk seen in people who worked on the ground. However, only pilots faced an increased risk of death from the cancer — their mortality risk was 83% greater than for those in the general population. (For those who worked in the main cabin, the risk of dying from melanoma was actually 10% lower.)”


Study Offers Evidence that Sunscreen Use in Childhood Prevents Melanoma in Adults

“Research conducted at the Texas Biomedical Research Institute, published in the latest issue of the scientific journal Pigment Cell and Melanoma, has established unequivocally in a natural animal model that the incidence of malignant melanoma in adulthood can be dramatically reduced by the consistent use of sunscreen in infancy and childhood.

“According to senior author John L. VandeBerg, Ph.D., the research was driven by the fact that, despite the increasing use of sunscreen in recent decades, the incidence of malignant melanoma, the most aggressive form of skin cancer, continues to increase dramatically. The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 75,000 new cases of melanoma will be diagnosed in the U.S. this year.”


New Clues to Skin Cancer Development Show Sunscreen is Not Enough

“Scientists have shown that sunscreen cannot be relied upon alone to prevent malignant melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer, according to research* published in Nature.

“The work supports the approach taken by public health campaigns that call for people to use a combination of shade and clothing to protect their skin, applying sunscreen to the areas you can’t cover.

“The research explains more about the mechanism by which UV light leads to melanoma and also explores the extent to which sunscreen is able to prevent UV light from damaging healthy cells.”


Too Many Melanoma Survivors Still Get Too Much Sun

Researchers were surprised to discover that many melanoma survivors fail to protect themselves from ultraviolet (UV) rays, which are the biggest risk factor for this cancer. About 27% of melanoma survivors never wear sunscreen, 14% don’t stay in the shade, and 2% actually go to tanning salons, according to an analysis of the 2010 National Health Interview Survey that was presented at the 2013 meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research. Public health experts call for refuting common myths about tanning, stressing that it is not safer to tan inside than outdoors, and that tans from a salon do not reduce the risk of sunburn.