Melanoma cases increased with cultural shifts over last century

the ONA take:

According to a new study published in the American Journal of Public Health, researchers from the Ronald O. Perelman department of dermatology at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York, New York, cultural and historical shifts, such as fashion, over the last century have contributed to the increase in the number of cases of melanoma.

 

For the study, the researchers analyzed clothing styles, economic trends, medical paradigms, perceptions of tanned skin, social norms, and travel patterns during the 1900's. In regard to clothing and perceptions of tanned skin, the researchers estimated the amount of exposed skin between periods. For example, in the early 1900's, people wore clothing that almost completely concealed the body, and light skin was favored over tanned skin.

 

Then, people started using sunshine as a treatment for rickets and tuberculosis and swimwear started exposing more skin. In addition, perceptions of tanned skin changed to reflect a sign of increased quality of life and good health.

 

Only in Australia did the researchers observe a positive trend, most likely due to a public education campaign to change perceptions about tanning. The researchers suggest that more skin exposed, more sun exposure, and more tanning lead to an increased incidence of melanoma.

Melanoma cases increased with cultural shifts over last century
Cultural and historical shifts over the last century have contributed to the increase in melanoma.

A century's worth of cultural and historical forces have contributed to the rise in the incidence of melanoma, including changes in fashion and clothing design, according to an intriguing, retrospective research study conducted by investigators in the Ronald O. Perelman Department of Dermatology at NYU Langone Medical Center.

Their findings are the subject of a report, "More Skin, More Sun, More Tan, More Melanoma," in the October 6, 2014 issue of the American Journal of Public Health. The authors surmised that early diagnosis and improved reporting practices do not fully account for the steady rise in cases of melanoma. They set out to explore extenuating factors that may also have contributed to the increase in reported cases in the U.S.

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