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Marathoners Risk More Skin Cancers

Posted: November 21, 2006

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No lesions suggestive of malignant melanoma were found, but 24 marathoners and 14 from the control group were referred to dermatologists to evaluate growths that looked like nonmelanoma skin cancers (such as basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers).

What's behind the increased risk?

The study reflects what dermatologists see in practice, says Diane Madfes, MD, a New York City dermatologist and a spokeswoman for the Skin Cancer Foundation.

Among her patients who are long-distance runners, Madfes says she has seen many cases of abnormal moles as well as nonmelanoma cancers, though not much melanoma, she says.

Greater ultraviolet exposure, of course, is one explanation for the increased risk, say the Austrian researchers.