Study Finds Melanoma Rates Drop Sharply Among Teens and Young Adults

Jill Murphy, Assistant Editor
Published Online: Thursday, November 14th, 2019
According to a study published by JAMA Dermatology, cases of melanoma in the United States among adolescents and young adults has declined from 2006-2015, suggesting that public-health efforts advocating sun protection are changing behaviors among the younger generations.
 
Researchers at the University of Washington School of Medicine and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle gathered de-identified patient data in 988,000 invasive melanoma cases from databases at the CDC and National Cancer Institute. They calculated annual percentage of change for multiple demographics, including age: pediatric (ages 0-9), adolescent (10-19), young adult (20-29), and adults in 10-year increments (30-80+).
 
Results showed that the number of melanoma cases across all ages rose steadily during the study span, from 50,272 in 2001 to 83,362 in 2015. The data was primarily driven by adults 40+ years, according to the study authors.
 
Meanwhile, for adolescents and young adults, the peak frequency was around 2005, following a sharp fall through 2015. The male incidence rate dropped about 4% per year, while the female rate dropped about 4.5% per year across the two age groups.
 
Melanoma is the most common skin cancer and fifth most common cancer among men and women in the United States. It is triggered by ultraviolet radiation and can spread to different structures of the body if not caught early, such as the lungs and the brain.
 
Reference
 
Study: melanoma rates drop sharply among teens, young adults [news release]. Seattle, WA; University of Washington: November 13, 2019. https://newsroom.uw.edu/news/study-melanoma-rates-drop-sharply-among-teens-young-adults. Accessed November 13, 2019.



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