Cutaneous malignant melanoma is on the rise in fair skinned societies. Both its incidence and mortality rates have been incresing in Europe over the past decades, the latter seem to stabilise in Scandinavia. The main cause of melanoma is intermittent exposure to ultraviolet radiation, especially in combination with endogenous factors like skin type and genetic predisposition. Evidence on an association between sunbed use and melanoma is inconclusive, but seems to point to a slightly increased risk associated with sunbed use. Within Europe, considerably variation in patterns of melanoma incidence and mortality existed. In this paper, we discuss the possible explanations for the observed trends and options for primary and secondary prevention. Early detection seems the most promising way to combat the relatively poor survival rates in Southern and Eastern Europe.

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European Journal of Cancer
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

de Vries, E.G.E, & Coebergh, J.W.W. (2004). Cutaneous malignant melanoma in Europe. European Journal of Cancer (Vol. 40, pp. 2355–2366). doi:10.1016/j.ejca.2004.06.003