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Skin cancer cases spike in young adults

By Lara Salahi
Globe Correspondent / April 2, 2012
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Skin cancer cases among young adults increased more than sixfold from the 1970s to the 2000s in one Minnesota county, a study by researchers at the Mayo Clinic found. The findings suggest that rates of skin cancer among the young are higher than previously reported in nationwide government data.

The researchers reviewed medical records and identified 256 young adults aged 18 to 39 years old from Olmstead County, Minn., who were first diagnosed with melanoma between 1970 and 2009. Young women were four times more likely than young men to be diagnosed with melanoma, which is the deadliest form of skin cancer.

Indoor tanning bed use and childhood sunburns may be to blame, the researchers said.

They also found that young adults now have a lower likelihood of dying from the disease. This may be due to earlier detection and treatment of the disease, they said.

BOTTOM LINE: New diagnoses of skin cancer among young adults have spiked over the last 40 years, especially among women.

CAUTIONS: This study focused on a small group of highly educated, predominantly white young adults in one county so the results may not reflect the overall US young adult population.

WHERE TO FIND IT: Mayo Clinic Proceedings, April

Children with autism more likely to be bullied

Children who have an autism spectrum disorder are bullied three times more frequently than their siblings who do not, according to an online survey created by researchers at Johns Hopkins University and administered by the Interactive Autism Network.

Of nearly 1,200 parents who took the survey, 63 percent reported their child with an ASD had been bullied at some point, and most were bullied the worst during their middle school years.

Some children with autism may be particularly vulnerable to bullying because they are more easily provoked to act aggressively or experience a meltdown, the researchers said.

BOTTOM LINE: Children with autism spectrum disorders are more likely to be bullied than their siblings who do not have an ASD.

CAUTIONS: Parents who took the survey represent only a small sample of those who have children with ASD and cannot be generalized to all children with the disorder. The survey results have not been independently evaluated by outside experts.

WHERE TO FIND IT: Interactive Autism Network (www.iancommunity.org)

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