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Melanoma On The Rise Among Young Women: Factors That Can Increase Your Risk For Skin Cancer

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Melanoma is now the second most common form of cancer in women between 15 and 29 years old. Here are some factors that can up a person's odds for sun damage and skin cancer.

  ( Charly Triballeau | AFP/Getty Images )

Cases of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, is increasing particularly among young women.

The American Academy of Dermatology and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries have revealed that melanoma is now the second most common form of cancer in women between 15 and 29 years old. More than 3,000 women will die from melanoma this year.

Exposure To Sun And Use Of Tanning Beds

Exposure to the sun can up risk for skin cancer. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that between 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. standard time are the most hazardous for UV exposure outdoors in the continental United States.

Doctors, however, attribute the rise in melanoma cases to early and frequent use of tanning beds, which deliver a concentrated dose of ultraviolet light.

"UV rays from the sun and indoor tanning devices can damage the skin," the CDC warned. "Every time you tan, you increase your risk of getting skin cancer."

Besides frequent exposure to UV light, there are other things that can up a person's risk of sun damage and skin cancer.

Treatments And Health Conditions

Andrew Alexis, chair of dermatology at Mount Sinai West and Mount Sinai St. Luke's in New York City, said that health conditions and treatments that suppress the immune system can place a person at increased risk of skin cancer and sun damage.

These treatments include immunosuppressive therapy for psoriasis, severe lupus, or rheumatologic conditions, and chemotherapy. A poorly controlled HIV can likewise up risk for sun damage.

Some oral drugs such as those used for acne can also increase a person's risk of sunburn. Antidepressants, antibiotics, antifungals, and anti-inflammatories are also known to increase photosensitivity.

Diet

People who are deficient in niacin (vitamin B3) have increased sensitivity to the sun. The nutrient can be found in meat, peanuts, mushrooms and fortified grains.

Certain foods such as limes, parsley, and celery, likewise contain a photosensitizing compound, which can result in sunburn-like reactions.

Other Risk Factors

The CDC said that certain individuals are more likely than others to develop skin cancer. People who have light natural skin cancer, a family or personal history of skin cancer, a large number of moles in the body, a history of sunburn early in life, skin that easily burns, reddens or freckles; blond or red hair, and blue or green eyes have heightened risk for skin cancer.

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