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Skin Cancer Module: Practice Exercises

Skin Cancer: Module 14
Figure II Questions

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Question 1: Think about what you have learned about how melanoma develops. Remember that too much sun in childhood and young adulthood can cause skin cancer later in life. Explain the differences in melanoma incidence in different age groups.

Answer: Melanoma is more common in older adults. Incidence rates went up more from 19731994 in older age groups. This fits with what we know about the "lag time" for melanoma: UV skin damage early in life can cause cancer much later in life.


Question 2: How would primary prevention activities targeted at parents, young children, and teenagers now affect age-specific melanoma rates in the future?

Answer: Targeting children and teenagers now should help lower age-specific melanoma rates in older adults in the future. As this age "group" adopts sun-safe habits, they will reduce their risk for melanoma later in life.


Question 3: Would skin cancer screening programs affect this graph? If so, how?

Answer: Skin cancer screening programs are a secondary prevention measure. But there are several ways that skin cancer screening programs might affect incidence rates. Screening programs may have an indirect effect on people's habits. Such programs may raise awareness, change attitudes, or otherwise move people to change their sun habits. Screenings may also prompt people to encourage healthy change in their friends, families, and communities. Thus screening programs could indirectly lead to lower melanoma incidence over time. Screening programs may also cause a temporary rise in melanoma incidence. This is because more early tumors would be found. And more people would seek medical care for melanoma. There would appear to be more cases of melanoma. But the mortality rate per case would drop, because early tumors are easier to cure.

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This page last reviewed August 27, 2004

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