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High Birth Weight, Early UV Exposure, and Melanoma

Epidemiology; ePub 2018 Nov 29; Wojcik, et al

High birth weight and high early-life ultraviolet (UV) radiation exposure may be important independent risk factors for melanoma diagnosis before age 30, according to a recent study. The implication is that adopting skin-protective behaviors as early as infancy could be important for primary prevention of melanoma in younger people. Researchers conducted a population-based, case-control study of 1,396 cases of melanoma diagnosed before age 30 in 1988-2013 and 27,920 controls, obtained by linking cancer registry data to birth records in California. They found:

  • High birth weight (>4,000g) was associated with 19% higher risk of melanoma, while low birth weight (<2,500g) was associated with 41% lower risk, compared to normal birth weight (2,500-4,000g); dose-response per 1,000g increase was also evident.
  • All quartiles of birthplace UV > the lowest quartile were associated with increased melanoma risk.
  • The strongest relationship between birthplace UV and melanoma was for 15-19 years of age at diagnosis.

Wojcik KY, Escobedo LA, Wysong A, et al. High birth weight, early UV exposure, and melanoma risk in children, adolescents and young adults. [Published online ahead of print November 29, 2018]. Epidemiology. doi:10.1097/EDE.0000000000000963.