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Melanoma Cases are Decreasing for People Between the Ages of 15 to 44

A new study published in JAMA Dermatology has found that despite rates of melanoma diagnoses increasing among non-Latino white-skinned people over the age of 45 and younger than 15, there has been a significant drop in melanoma incidence among people between the ages of 15 to 44.

Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) looked at data from February 2010 to December 2014 from the CDC’s National Program of Cancer Registries and the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results Program to examine the possible factors that might contribute to these changing diagnosis rates.

In a research letter, the authors explain that melanoma rates decreased by 5.1 percent for both males and females between the ages of 15 and 24, 25 to 34, and 35 to 44, and then increased substantially for people between the ages of 55 to 84. 

“Although primary skin cancer prevention efforts have often focused on children, adolescents, and young adults, the steady increase in melanoma incidence rates among older adults indicates a need for efforts that promote skin cancer preventative behaviors throughout adulthood,” wrote the group of researchers, led by Dawn M. Holman, MPH. “Such efforts could focus on groups at high risk, such as outdoor workers and intentional tanners. Ongoing surveillance of melanoma incidence is warranted to monitor progress toward national skin cancer prevention goals and guide prevention strategies.”

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