Multiple sunburns as teens raises melanoma risk
Multiple sunburns during teenage years may increase risk of melanoma by as much as 80 percent, according to new research.
The study, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, looked at 20 years’ worth of data on female nurses between the ages of 25 and 42 in 1989. At the beginning of the study, the women answered questions about the number of blistering sunburns they experienced between ages 15 and 20, as well as questions about personal and family history of moles and the various forms of skin cancer. Every two years, further data was collected on disease and health-related topics that are known to contribute to skin cancer risk.
Data analysis showed that the women who had experienced five or more blistering sunburns between ages 15 and 20 had a 68 percent increased risk of basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, and they had an 80 percent increased risk of melanoma—the deadliest form of skin cancer. The findings, published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, suggest that young people and parents of young people should pay close attention to sun exposure in order to reduce risk of developing melanoma.