Finally, in this week’s news items for nurses, I bring you a news item from Healthday.com on reducing risk factors for melanoma in teens and children. According to a recent study from researchers at Brown University and Rhode Island Hospital, white women who get 5 or more severe sunburns in their teen years have up to an 80% greater chance of developing melanoma later in life. Their risk for two other skin cancers are also increased.

Sunburns in Youth Increases Melanoma Risk

sunscreen_sunglasses_girl_swimsuitThe study seems to point to early sun exposure as being key to developing melanoma, the most serious and deadly form of skin cancer. According to the authors, this shows that parents need to be even more vigilant with protecting their kids from sun exposure early in life. The study was published in last month’s journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention.

Nurses were the study’s subjects with over 100,000 nurses followed for 20 years. The study accounted for location in which the participants lived with each person’s ultraviolet light (UV) exposure rate calculated based on their locations throughout the course of the study. 25% of the women reported experiencing at least one blistering sunburn early in life and the same amount of respondents admitted to using tanning beds.

Other Skin Cancers Linked to Adult Sun Exposure

According to the findings, early extreme sun exposures are linked to melanoma while other skin cancers, like basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas, were linked to sun exposure in adulthood. This is one of those studies that could be what I call “one for the wall” where you work.

This is perfect fodder for the bulletin board in both the workplace and in patient waiting areas. Take the initiative as well to talk with patients at this time of year about the risks of tanning and sun exposure to them, especially in children.

Make sure you follow-up on the links for this news item and all of the other news and additional resource links from this week’s episode – Clinical Scene Investigator CSI Leadership Program for Nurses and Episode 298.

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