More young people appear to be developing the most common types of skin cancer. This finding could herald a dramatic increase in the cost and suffering caused by the disease The cancers, caused largely by overexposure to ultraviolet light from the sun, usually develop in older people who have spent many years outdoors.
The study was conducted on basal and squamous cell carcinomas, cancers that are almost always curable and that together afflict 1 million Americans a year.
AdvertisementAlthough up to 90% of such cancers typically appear on the head and neck, it was found that 40% of skin cancers occurred on other parts of the body perhaps a reflection of excessive sunbathing.
Skin cancer could become a much larger public health problem in the decades ahead and about half of people who develop a basal cell carcinoma develop at least one more, suggesting that these young people could be burdened by cancer for the next 30 to 40 years.
It is however important to screen a large population for identification of such cases so that treatment can be instituted.