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Researchers led by Dr. Lisa Campbell, of Case Western Reserve University and University Hospitals (UH) Case Medical Center in Cleveland, looked at national cancer registry data from 2000 to 2010.
They found that the overall number of new melanoma cases among children fell 12 percent each year from 2004 to 2010.
The reasons? Campbell's team cited effective public outreach on the danger of UV rays from the sun or tanning beds, more kids playing indoors rather than outdoors and a rise in parental awareness of the importance of sunscreen and other sun-protective measures.
Among 15-to-19-year-olds, cases of melanoma decreased by almost 8 percent a year for boys from 2000 to 2010, and by 11 percent per year for girls, the study found.
The data also showed decreases in melanoma located on the trunk and upper extremities. The findings were published April 9 in The Journal of Pediatrics.
The results contradict those from other studies that suggest that melanoma among children is on the rise, Campbell's group said. They note that there was also a significant rise in melanoma rates for American adults over the study period.
However, much of the decline in pediatric melanomas occurred in cases where there were indications of good outcomes, the study found.
So, "although it is encouraging to observe decreasing melanoma incidence overall, it is concerning that this decrease is occurring in those cases of melanoma with good prognostic indicators," study senior author Dr. Jeremy Bordeaux, a dermatologist at University Hospitals Case Medical Center Bordeaux, said in a journal news release.
-- Robert Preidt
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