Rates of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, have been rising for at least the last three decades, and this increase has been largely blamed on exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun.
However, research published in the British Journal of Dermatology shows that the sun is likely nothing more than a scapegoat in the development of melanoma, and the sharp increase may actually be “an artifact caused by diagnostic drift.”
Diagnostic drift, according to the study, refers to a hefty increase in disease that is being fueled by non-cancerous lesions.
In fact, during the study period from 1991 to 2004, there were nearly 4,000 cases of melanoma included in the report, with an annual increase of 9.39 to 13.91 cases per 100,000 per year.
The researchers revealed that, rather than being fueled by increasing exposure to sunlight as is commonly suggested, the increased incidence was almost entirely due to minimal, stage 1 disease. Read more…