Six melanoma risk factors identified

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New factors have been identified that could increase risk of melanoma—the most serious form of skin cancer. Investigators examined data from 300 melanoma patients and 300 people with no melanoma. The results spawned the creation of a new model of six factors that independently predicted melanoma risk (some of which were already known) and could be used as a quick screening method. The risks include:

1. History of blistering sunburns as a teenager
2. Red or blond hair
3. Marked freckling of the upper back
4. Family history of melanoma
5. History of actinic keratoses
6. Outdoor summer jobs for three or more years as a teenager.

The new information was presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology in March. That same month, a Canadian research team reported that freckles, skin moles, and moles on the iris of the eye are associated with uveal melanoma (cancer of the eye) (Ophthalmology. 2009;116:536-543).
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