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Am J Public Health. 2014 Nov;104(11):e92-9. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2014.302185. Epub 2014 Sep 11.

More skin, more sun, more tan, more melanoma.

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Caroline Chang, Era Caterina Murzaku, Lauren Penn, Naheed R. Abbasi, and David Polsky are with The Ronald O. Perelman Department of Dermatology, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY. Paula D. Davis is with Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA. Marianne Berwick is with University of New Mexico Cancer Center, Albuquerque.


Although personal melanoma risk factors are well established, the contribution of socioeconomic factors, including clothing styles, social norms, medical paradigms, perceptions of tanned skin, economic trends, and travel patterns, to melanoma incidence has not been fully explored. We analyzed artwork, advertisements, fashion trends, and data regarding leisure-time activities to estimate historical changes in UV skin exposure. We used data from national cancer registries to compare melanoma incidence rates with estimated skin exposure and found that they rose in parallel. Although firm conclusions about melanoma causation cannot be made in an analysis such as this, we provide a cross-disciplinary, historical framework in which to consider public health and educational measures that may ultimately help reverse melanoma incidence trends.

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