Young Women with Melanoma – Wealth is a Contributing Factor

Christina Dodd 

Your women with wealth are more likely than their poorer peers to develop a form of skin cancer called melanoma. This serious type of skin cancer is caused by overexposure to ultraviolet rays. This can be accomplished by spending too much time in the sun without protective sun block. The finding associating wealth and melanoma was uncovered in a new study which looked at young women and teenagers in various socioeconomic classes in California. Those with the highest status were found to be almost six times more likely to develop melanoma than young women and teens from the lowest socioeconomic class in the state.

Young Women with MelanomaBecause of this huge variance, it is safe to say that socioeconomic status is one of the main factors in predicting the diagnosis of young women with melanoma. The reason is partly due to the fact that wealthier young women have the time and money to spend on tanning salons and visits to the beach, both of which increase the risk of developing melanoma. However, another factor is that underprivileged individuals take longer to go to the doctor when there is a problem and they have limited access to specialty doctors like dermatologists who could spot the problem early on. Therefore, wealthy young women with melanoma might not outnumber poor women with the condition as significantly as six to one simply because the poor individuals might not ever be diagnosed.

To complete the study, researchers from the University of California at San Francisco looked over health data from 3,800 white females ranging in age from 15 to 39. Within these reports, 80% of the young women with melanoma came from the highest socioeconomic neighborhoods and had the highest UV ray exposure. The dangers of ultraviolet rays are very apparent when you realize that the numbers of diagnoses are increasing among young women, regardless of their wealth or social status. Melanoma cases have increased tremendously over the years, nearly doubling over the last three decades alone among non-Hispanic white young women.

Skin cancer is a cumulative risk. This means that your body keeps a running total of the amount of sun you have ever exposed yourself to. UV radiation causes mutations in the genes, which can be corrected most of the time by the body. However, with enough exposure, the body cannot keep up, mutations “slip through,” and cancer begins to form.

Because of these known risks of melanoma, it is imperative for everyone to understand that while that dark tan from the salon or lying on the beach unprotected might be attractive this year or the next, eventually unprotected UV ray exposure could result in a harmful skin cancer. When choosing a sunscreen to protect your skin, select one with the highest SPF possible for the most thorough protection.