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J Natl Cancer Inst. 1983 May;70(5):827-31.

Cutaneous melanoma in relation to exogenous hormones and reproductive factors.


Eighty-seven women of ages 37-74, who resided in King County, Wash., and who had been diagnosed between July 1976 and November 1979 as having cutaneous malignant melanoma, were interviewed regarding prior use of estrogen-containing preparations and reproductive history. The responses were compared with those of a random sample of 863 women from the same county. Among the 61 women with superficial spreading melanoma (SSM), use of oral contraceptives for 5 years or more was more common than among controls. The estimated relative risks for users of 5-9 and 10 years or more were 2.4 and 3.6, respectively. No differences between cases and controls were noted for oral contraceptive use of 4 years or less. Giving birth to a first child after age 30 was also associated with an increased relative risk of SSM. Although the positive findings regarding oral contraceptive use and age at birth of first child must be interpreted cautiously pending results of other studies, they suggest that hormonal factors can play a role in the etiology of SSM.

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