banner
Health Team

Skin cancer increasing among young women

Posted July 18, 2008 4:37 p.m. EDT
Updated July 18, 2008 9:59 p.m. EDT

The warnings are clear: Too much sun is not good for your skin. However, a new study shows that instances of the most aggressive form of skin cancer are rising among young women.

Researchers looked at thousands of skin cancer cases from 30 years and focused on instances of melanoma, the most aggressive form of skin cancer.

The study found that although the rate of melanoma in young men has been stable since 1980, the rate among young women has jumped by 50 percent.

"It shows that they're getting the bad kind of melanoma, and they're getting melanoma in general at a higher rate," said Dr. Anna Paylick, with the New York University Cancer Institute.

The exact reason for the increase among young women was unclear, researchers said, but many experts believe young women are simply tanning more.

"It's not worth it, it really isn't," Ann Oman, a melanoma patient, said.

After getting a bad sunburn as a teenager, Oman has fought melanoma three times. She described where she has scars from multiple surgeries: "Behind my ear, all the way down. And then there is scarring that goes all the way through here," she said as she ran her hand over her left shoulder.

Paylick recommended that everyone limit their exposure to the sun and always use sunscreen with UVA and UVB protection.

And for those who want the tanned look?

"There are many, many, very good self-tanning products that are available on the market that are nothing more than some vegetable dye," Paylick said.

Those with a family history of melanoma or a personal history of sunburn should get their skin checked on a regular basis.