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Br J Cancer. 1985 Mar;51(3):393-7.

Sunburn and malignant melanoma.


We investigated the relationship between cutaneous malignant melanoma and multiple sunburns in the Queensland population. Interview data were gathered from 236 case-control pairs concerning their lifetime experience of severe sunburns, their occupational and recreational sun exposure, and their skin type. Excluding the lentigo maligna melanoma subtype, an association between multiple sunburns and melanoma was evident. After controlling for other major risk factors there was a significant dose-response relationship (P less than 0.05): the estimated relative risk associated with 2-5 sunburns in life was 1.5, and with 6 or more was 2.4. This observation extends the hitherto circumstantial evidence of a causal relationship between exposure to solar ultraviolet radiation and melanoma, and suggests that precautionary measures could prevent the development of this disease in a proportion of cases in fair-skinned populations.

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