Cutaneous malignant melanoma and sun exposure. Recent developments in epidemiology

Arch Dermatol. 1996 Apr;132(4):444-50.


Background: The rapidly increasing incidence of cutaneous malignant melanoma in white populations world-wide stresses the need for identification of risk factors for the disease. The most important risk factor seems to be sun exposure, but its relationship to melanoma appears to be complex.

Observations: Epidemiological studies that examine the association of sun exposure with melanoma are reviewed. The results of these studies concern the anatomic distribution of the disease and its incidence with regard to latitude of residence, sun sensitivity, different patterns of sun exposure, and sun exposure in childhood.

Conclusions: Sun-sensitive individuals, children, and individuals with an intermittant pattern of sun exposure seem to be very vulnerable to sunlight, as far as melanoma formation is concerned, and should be thoroughly protected from sun exposure.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Female
  • Greece / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Melanoma / epidemiology*
  • Melanoma / etiology
  • Melanosis / epidemiology
  • Melanosis / etiology
  • Neoplasms, Radiation-Induced / epidemiology*
  • Neoplasms, Radiation-Induced / etiology
  • Nevus, Pigmented / epidemiology
  • Nevus, Pigmented / etiology
  • Radiation Tolerance
  • Skin Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Skin Neoplasms / etiology
  • Sunlight / adverse effects*