Friday, June 6th, 2014
Teens–especially young women–who get multiple blistering sunburns during their teenage years may be at greater risk of developing the serious skin cancer melanoma as adults, according to new research published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention. More from The New York Times:
The new research found that women who had at least five blistering sunburns during their teenage years had a greater likelihood of developing any of the three main forms of skin cancer. But the risk was particularly high for melanoma, which kills an estimated 8,800 Americans a year.
Women who were consistently exposed to high amounts of ultraviolet radiation as adults did not have an increased risk for melanoma. But they did have more than double the risk of developing basal and squamous cell carcinoma, two common but less lethal forms of skin cancer.
The findings, published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, were based on an analysis of 109,000 Caucasian women who were followed for 20 years as part of the nationwide Nurses’ Health Study II. Throughout the study, the women routinely provided details about their medical histories, as well as information on things like their use of tanning beds and any sunburns or moles on their skin.
Researchers urge parents to protect their children from chronic sun exposure, and teach kids the importance of sun protection–in the form of sunscreens as well as protective clothing–from an early age.
Image: Teens at the beach, via Shutterstock
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Friday, February 14th, 2014
Teenagers are more likely to agree to wear sunscreen on a regular basis after hearing about the premature aging sun exposure can cause, a new study has found. Similar information about how the sun’s rays increase the risk of potentially life-threatening skin cancer, however, did not prove as motivational to the teens studied. More from Reuters:
“Vanity is more of a driving force to use sunscreen, as opposed to the fear factor of developing skin cancer,” the study’s lead author, William Tuong, told Reuters Health. Tuong is a fourth-year medical student at the University of California, Davis.
In his study, high school students applied sunblock three times as often if they watched a video showing how it could prevent their skin from wrinkling than if they watched a video showing how sun exposure causes melanoma.
Fifty Sacramento 11th-grade students participated in the study and saw one of two educational videos urging them to lather on sunscreen.
Tuong developed the five-minute videos to test the theory that teenagers were more likely to respond to messages about appearance than to messages about health.
A young, attractive woman speaks directly to youth in both videos.
In one, the actress emphasizes the growing incidence of melanoma in young people and the link between the deadliest form of skin cancer and ultraviolet light. In the other video, the same actress discusses how ultraviolet light contributes to premature aging and “can make you look older and less attractive.”
“We are not trying to look like our grandparents, right?” the actress says. “Have you seen what the sun can do to a grape? It gets shriveled and wrinkled. Raisins are not cute,” she says.
“I don’t want to look like a raisin face, and I don’t think you want to either,” she continues. “The sun causes wrinkles, dark spots, uneven skin tones, sagging skin and rough, leathery skin. These are all the things that will make you look older and definitely less sexy.”
Image: Teen wearing sunscreen, via Shutterstock
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Wednesday, August 21st, 2013
A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that nearly a third of all white teen girls visit tanning salons, despite warnings that tanning increases their risk of a lethal form of skin cancer (as well as wrinkles). In fact, the study revealed that more than 15 percent of girls use tanning beds ten times or more a year.
Here’s more from Today Health:
“We need to encourage young women to embrace their natural, untanned skin colors,” says Gery Guy of the CDC’s division of cancer control, who led the research.
Guy’s team looked at surveys of high school students and young adults from 2010 and 2011, which cover tens of thousands of people interviewed in depth.
“Among non-Hispanic white female high school students, 29.3 percent engaged in indoor tanning and 16.7 percent engaged in frequent indoor tanning during the previous 12 months,” they wrote. “Among non-Hispanic white women aged 18-34 years, 24.9 percent engaged in indoor tanning and 15.1 percent engaged in frequent indoor tanning during the previous 12 months.”
That’s even though people who use indoor tanning treatments raise their risk of melanoma—the deadliest form of skin cancer—by 59 to 75 percent. People who use tanning booths or lights before they are 25 raise the risk by as much as 100 percent.
“This widespread use is of great concern given the elevated risk of skin cancer among younger users and frequent users,” Guy’s team wrote in the Journal of the American Medical Association’s journal JAMA Internal Medicine. Melanoma kills more than 9,000 Americans a year.
Image: Girl’s legs in tanning bed, via Shutterstock
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Monday, July 29th, 2013
The number of children diagnosed with melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, is rising about 2 percent each year, and the disease is escaping the notice of many pediatricians who do not expect to see it in their young patients, according to a new study published in the journal Pediatrics. More from ABC News:
Melanoma makes up 5 percent of skin cancer diagnosis but a majority of skin cancer deaths.
In 2013, the American Cancer Society estimated, 76,690 new melanomas will be diagnosed and 9,480 people are expected to die from the disease.
Children make up a tiny fraction of these cases, but a study recently published in the journal Pediatrics found that cases of pediatric melanoma are increasing. Between 1973 and 2009, the study found, cases of pediatric skin cancer rose, on average, 2 percent each year.
Melanoma is also the second most common form of cancer for adolescents and young adults between 15 and 29 years old, according to a 2007 study from the National Cancer Foundation.
Unfortunately, pediatric melanoma can be very difficult to diagnose because the warning signs are often very different than those for adult melanoma. In addition, experts say, testing biopsies in a pathology lab can be inconclusive and occasionally these cancers are only definitively diagnosed after they’ve grown or spread.
A major factor in surviving a cancer diagnosis is early detection, but the early signs of pediatric melanoma often masquerade as inconsequential skin problems….
….Dr. Ashfaq Marghoob, director of Memorial Sloan-Kettering’s regional skin cancer clinic in Hauppauge, N.Y., and spokesman for the Skin Cancer Foundation, said melanoma presents very differently in children versus adults.
“You’re asking these doctors to look for zebras,” said Marghoob. “If you usually see horses you’re not looking for zebras. Their mind is not in tune with looking for these melanomas. The morphology of melanoma in kids is different from adults.”
A 2011 study presented at the Pediatric Dermatology Annual Meeting found that 60 percent of children between the ages of 0 and 10 in the study with melanoma did not meet the common melanoma-detection criteria. The criteria is broken down by the “ABCDE warning signs,” which stands for Asymmetry, Border irregularity, Color variation and Diameter over six millimeters, and Evolution of the lesion.
For children between the ages of 10 and 20, approximately 40 percent did not strictly meet the ABCDE criteria.
Instead, many children in the study had tumors that were symmetrical and amelanosis (lacking pigment). The differences were so significant that the study’s authors proposed creating alternative ABCD criteria for pediatric patients, where A is for amelanosis, B for bumps or bleeding, C for uniform Color, and D for various Diameters or de novo (or new) Development.
Image: Dermatologist examining child, via Shutterstock
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Tuesday, January 24th, 2012
Adolescents who are given health-conscious messages about limiting sun exposure and using sunscreen ignore the advice more and more as they grow into their teen years, a new study published in the journal Pediatrics has found. CNN.com reports on the findings, which include sunscreen use that decreases by half between ages 10 and 13:
Researchers studied 360 fifth-graders in 2004 and followed up with them in 2007. Approximate ages were 10 to 13.
“I’m sure the parents had more say in [children's] sun behaviors when they were ten years old- applying sunscreen and keeping them out of the sun more,” said Dr. Stephen Dusza, lead author and research epidemiologist from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
“But as they are growing older and developing some more independence, they’re making their own health decisions and sometimes those aren’t the wisest health decisions,” he said.
The American Academy of Dermatology says rates of melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer, have been rising for at least 30 years. It is now the most common form of cancer for young adults aged 25 to 29 and is the second most common form of cancer among adolescents and adults aged 15 to 29.
Image: Teenager sunbathing, via Shutterstock.
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