Background: Previous studies have reported an association between sun exposure and improved cutaneous melanoma (CM) survival. We analysed the association of UV exposure with prognostic factors and outcome in a large melanoma cohort. Methods: A questionnaire was given to 289 (42%) CM patients at diagnosis (Group 1) and to 402 CM patients (58%) during follow-up (Group 2). Analyses were carried out to investigate the associations between sun exposure and melanoma prognostic factors and survival. Results: Holidays in the sun two years before CM diagnosis were significantly associated with lower Breslow thickness (p=0.003), after multiple adjustment. Number of weeks of sunny holidays was also significantly and inversely associated with thickness in a dose-dependent manner (p=0.007). However when stratifying by gender this association was found only among women (p=0.0004) the risk of CM recurrence in both sexes was significantly lower in patients (n=271) who had holidays in the sun after diagnosis, after multiple adjustment including education: HR=0.30 (95%CI:0.10-0.87; p=0.03) conclusions: Holidays in the sun were associated with thinner melanomas in women and reduced rates of relapse in both sexes. However, these results do not prove a direct causal effect of sun exposure on survival since other confounding factors, such as vitamin D serum levels and socio-economic status, may play a role. Other factors in sun seeking individuals may also possibly affect these results.,
Erasmus School of Philosophy

Gandini, S, de Vries, E, Tosti, A, Botteri, E, Spadola, G, Maisonneuve, P, … Testori, A. (2013). Sunny holidays before and after melanoma diagnosis are respectively associated with lower breslow thickness and lower relapse rates in Italy. PLoS ONE, 8(11). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0078820