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Melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, accounts for more than 75% of all skin cancer deaths. Despite repeated health warnings based on proven science that overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) light is the most preventable cause of all skin cancers, including melanoma, many Americans are not properly protecting themselves from this known carcinogen. Now, new understanding of the emerging field of genetic epidemiology of melanoma and the factors that influence teens' use of indoor tanning could shed more light on ways to protect future generations from skin cancer.
At the American Academy of Dermatology's Summer Academy Meeting 2008 in Chicago, dermatologist Martin A. Weinstock, MD, PhD, professor of dermatology and community health at Brown University in Providence, RI, and chief dermatologist at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Providence, led the presentation of key findings from research that could pave the way for future skin cancer prevention and treatment strategies.
Link between UV exposure and melanoma: The gene factor
When it comes to melanoma, there are multiple types of melanoma that can occur throughout the body and their relationship to UV exposure is different from one type of melanoma to another.
Weinstock explained that over the past few years, the fields of genomics and genetic epidemiology have been advancing tremendously. The role of genetics in the study of melanoma is an attempt to understand the connection between genetic changes in melanoma associated with different types of melanoma.