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Melanoma Rates Spike As Warm Weather Hits

Media release November 7, 2008

Melanoma Rates Spike In Spring As Warm Weather Hits

More New Zealanders are finding melanomas on their skin during spring, according to research* analysed by MoleMap New Zealand.

The study would suggest that as Kiwis swap suits for shorts and sweaters for singlets it becomes easier to regularly examine parts of the body that have been covered up for several months.

The research found that there is a 27% increase in the number of patients diagnosed with melanoma in spring, compared to winter, when more of their skin is covered up by winter woolies.

Women are the most at risk of an unwelcomed spring time diagnosis with the data showing a 34% spike in the number of females diagnosed, compared to the lesser 20% increase among males.

The difference between the sexes has been primarily put down to the fact that arms and legs make up 63%** of all diagnosed melanomas on women, compared to only 33%** on men.

MoleMap dermatologist Dr Mark Gray says this trend may be because arms and legs are covered up for the most part during winter, but earn closer inspection once the warmer weather arrives.

While spring fashions may be partially responsible for this sudden spike in seasonal variation of melanoma incidence, many experts are quick to point out that there is not one definitive cause.

Dr Gray says that while a trend is definitely present, there is no one definitive explanation for this spike in the number of patients diagnosed with Melanoma over spring.

“There is a definite correlation between increased exposure to UV radiation and a rise in melanoma, however initiatives such as Sunsmart week in November may also play a part in raising the general awareness of skin cancer during this time of the year,” he says.

Dr Gray says anyone concerned about a mole should have it checked, no matter the time of year.


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