Written By Alex Crees

Published April 02, 2012

FoxNews.com

A new study spanning multiple decades has found that skin cancer rates in the U.S. are rising dramatically, even as rates of other cancers are falling. The rise is most pronounced among young women, according to the researchers who conducted the study.

Mayo Clinic researchers studied health records dating back to the 1970s in Olmstead County, Mass., and found the number of melanoma cases in young adults has increased more than sixfold in the past 40 years. In young women specifically, the number of cases increased more than eightfold. For young men, the increase was fourfold.

“We anticipated we’d find rising rates, as other studies are suggesting, but we found an even higher incidence that the National Cancer Institute had reported…and in particular, a dramatic rise in women in their 20s and 30s,” said lead investigator Dr. Jerry Brewer, a Mayo Clinic dermatologist. The good news, according to the study, is the number of deaths from melanoma appears to be falling—most likely because of better awareness and earlier diagnosis.

While men typically have a higher lifetime risk of developing melanoma, the opposite is true for young adults and adolescents: Nearly two female cases are diagnosed for every one male case in young adults aged 20 to 24.

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