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Older white women at risk for melanoma

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CHICAGO, Dec 20, 2005 (UPI via COMTEX) -- A Northwestern University study in Chicago suggests older white women with a history of non-melanoma skin cancer are more likely to develop melanoma.

"This study adds a history of the relatively favorable non-melanoma skin cancer -- in and of itself -- to the list of known risk factors for melanoma in both sun lovers and shade dwellers alike," said lead author Dr. Carol Rosenberg, assistant professor medicine at Northwestern's Feinberg School of Medicine.

The study found postmenopausal, non-Hispanic white women aged 50 to 79 years with a history of non-melanoma skin cancer, such as basal cell or squamous cell skin cancer, but no other malignancies, were more than twice as likely to develop cutaneous melanoma over a period of 6.5 years compared with women who had no history of non-melanoma skin cancer, no matter how much sun exposure or other lifestyle variables they had experienced.

"Our study further defines melanoma risk in post-menopausal women and, it is hoped, will sensitize the medical community to this risk..." said Rosenberg. "This skin surveillance imperative may serve to be lifesaving in predisposed women."

The study appears in the journal Cancer.


Copyright 2005 by United Press International

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