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Eur J Cancer. 1998 Jul;34 Suppl 3:S3-6.

Incidence, risk factors and prevention of melanoma.

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1
Department of Dermatology, University of Glasgow, U.K.

Abstract

The incidence of cutaneous malignant melanoma steadily increased between 1940 and 1990 in both sexes. However, this increase appears to have peaked in females in Scotland. Excessive exposure to ultraviolet radiation among Caucasians is the main etiologic factor implicated in the incidence of melanoma. Mortality due to melanoma also increased between 1940 and 1990, but the rate of increase is less than that of the incidence of melanoma. This may be due to earlier diagnosis and treatment of melanoma as a result of public education campaigns. Independent risk factors for developing melanoma include the presence of benign melanocytic naevi (moles), the development of lentigines or freckles, three or more dysplastic naevi and a history of three or more severe sunburns that resulted in peeling or blistering. Approximately 2% of melanoma patients have a family history of the disease and research into potential melanoma susceptibility genes is ongoing. Primary prevention campaigns, initiated mainly in Australia, are aimed at encouraging sensible sun exposure. Secondary prevention campaigns are directed at preventing death from melanoma by encouraging early diagnosis and treatment. Additional prospective studies are needed to determine if the incidence of melanoma has peaked and whether the recent trends observed in females will also occur in males.

PMID:
9849401
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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