Cutaneous melanoma and sunburns in childhood in a southern European population

Eur J Cancer. 1992;28A(6-7):1172-6. doi: 10.1016/0959-8049(92)90480-p.


A population-based case-control study of 260 patients (74 males and 186 females, mean age = 56) with cutaneous malignant melanoma and 416 controls (211 males and 205 females, mean age = 55) was conducted in Turin, north-west Italy, to examine the relation between timing of sunburns and sun exposure and melanoma risk within a southern European population, which is still relatively little investigated. Particularly elevated risk was associated with history of sunburns in childhood [odds ratio 5.9; 95% confidence interval (CI) 3.6-9.5], and such risk elevation persisted after allowance for other major melanoma risk covariates. Conversely, risk increase from history of severe sunburns lifelong was lower (odds ratio = 1.7; 95% CI: 1.1-2.4) and was eliminated by allowance for type of skin reaction to sun exposure and history of sunburns in childhood. A significant increase in the risk of cutaneous malignant melanoma was also associated with number of weeks spent on holiday at the beach not only as an adult, but also as a child.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Melanoma / epidemiology
  • Melanoma / etiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Skin Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Skin Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Sunburn / complications*
  • Sunburn / epidemiology
  • Time Factors