How to Be More Cancer-Free in Your 50s
Posted On June 30, 2021
Cancer is the most common cause of death in the United States, with nearly a million new cases diagnosed every day.
But according to a new study, we may have more time to save our skin.
The researchers at the University of California, Davis, tracked the skin cancer rates of more than 100,000 Californians over the past 15 years.
They then compared the rate of skin cancer in those with normal skin to those with melanoma.
The results were pretty surprising.
The study found that those with a normal skin color and a melanoma diagnosis in the past five years had a significantly higher rate of melanoma than those who were diagnosed with melanomas but never had any skin cancer.
They also had a higher rate than those diagnosed with non-melanoma skin cancers, but those were also significantly lower.
“People with a melanous skin color, even though they may not have had a skin cancer, were actually at a higher risk of melanomas,” said lead author Dr. Daniela T. Marquez, an assistant professor in the UC Davis School of Medicine and the Department of Pathology.
Marquez and her team examined the relationship between skin cancer and age, gender, race, education, and skin-cancer-related medical history.
They found that skin-colored people had a nearly three-fold higher risk for skin cancer than non-skin-colored individuals.
They said their results may help shed light on why skin cancer can cause so many chronic diseases.
“In the past, we thought melanoma was a new disease that occurred at a younger age,” said Marquez.
“It was assumed that people who have skin cancer were young and healthy and therefore it was easier to treat.
But we were really surprised to find out that it was actually a more common cancer that was more common.”
In the study, they found that people diagnosed with skin cancer between ages 40 and 64 had a 15 percent chance of developing melanoma by the time they were 60 years old.
For those diagnosed between ages 65 and 74, the odds jumped to 40 percent.
And the difference in the skin-color rate between those who developed melanoma and those who did not was striking.
“When you compare the skin color of those with nonmelanomas to the skin colors of those who had melanoma, they were almost three times more likely to develop melanoma,” Marquez said.
What does this mean for you?
Marquez thinks that skin cancer is not always fatal, and that we may need to be more cautious about how we treat patients with skin-related cancers.
“There are still people out there who have never had melanomas and yet they have a skin disease that may be cancerous,” she said.
“If we don’t recognize early the signs of melanocytic infiltrates, the skin is more susceptible to cancer.
So, even when you have skin disease, the disease will not always kill you.”
To learn more about skin cancer prevention and treatment, check out this guide.