Growing melanoma due to climate change

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268307In Italy the melanoma is currently the third most frequent tumor in both sexes under the age of 50; worldwide, in the last ten years, it has reached 100,000 new cases per year[1]in Italy 15,000[2].

Blame the climate warming and the lack of knowledge of the disease and, consequently, the poor prevention through periodic checks, good habits and a correct lifestyle. It is estimated that 1% less ozone layer causes a 1 to 2% increase in the incidence of melanoma[3].

Rising temperatures, thinning of the ozone layer of the atmosphere, the increase in pollution due to fossil fuels therefore threatens human health. Starting with that of the skin. It has been estimated that an increase of 1.5 ° C will be equivalent to 8 more days of scorching heat in the Mediterranean area and therefore more sunshine.

We protect children

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«The main risk factor for melanoma remains sunburn in childhood and adolescencebut surely this increase in the incidence of the disease is linked to the thinning of the natural filter that protects us from the sun, in particular from UVB rays, that is the ozone layer that surrounds the earth “, explains the professor Paola Queirolodirector of the Complex Structure of Medical Oncology of Melanoma, Sarcoma and Rare Tumors of the European Institute of Oncology IRCCS in Milan.

«We then add that there is no adequate information on risks associated with sun exposure and failure to control moles, starting with what we can do personally. Furthermore, the children’s lifestyle has changed for the worse. There is no longer the rule of not exposing yourself to the sun in the hottest hours that the parents of previous generations followed, and today we rely too much on sun protection that everything can’t. Between 12 and 16 you have to stay in the shade or at home, there is no middle ground, even if you use the 50 filter “.

The Beyond the Skin campaign – Prevention at the center

Lack of information, an increasingly crucial factor given the climate situation and the course of the disease. Because of this Novartiswith the patronage of scientific societies and patient associations takes to the streets in various cities with the campaign “Beyond the Skin – Prevention at the center“, With temporary installations and the distribution of information material to raise awareness among citizens on the prevention of melanoma and on the importance of the periodic dermatological visit. With an invitation to stop physically at the exhibition, but not to stop at appearances, and to go deeper with the periodic checks of the moles.

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“Progressive climate change could have significant consequences on the incidence of melanoma cases: this is why it is important to continue to support initiatives to raise awareness and information on prevention and early diagnosis,” he says. Luigi Boano, General Manager Novartis Oncology Italy. «The need to return to the centers and carry out periodic checks of moles from a prevention perspective, it is also supported by the impact of the lack of controls during the pandemic on new diagnoses which, according to some studies, have been more serious in recent months. We support this commitment in line with Novartis’ mission to re-imagine medicine to improve and extend people’s lives, not only thanks to therapeutic innovation, but also through concrete services to support people’s health ».

268306“Learning what are the mistakes not to commit, the clues to pay attention to when observing your skin, understanding the importance of the periodic visit of the moles means being protagonists of your own health”, emphasizes Professor Queirolo. “Early detection of melanoma dramatically increases the chances of recoverywhich in the majority of cases comes with only the surgical removal of the lesion “.

«The things to learn, then, are not difficult to remember or complex – also declares Professor Queirolo -. There ABCDE rule it helps us to understand even for ourselves if there is something wrong with a mole: A stands for asymmetrical, B for irregular edges, C for non-homogeneous color that changes over time, D and E for evolving dimensions. If you notice something with these characteristics on your skin, it should be seen by the dermatologist as soon as possible. And even a child is able to use the ugly duckling rule, the one that helps us to notice a mole that stands out from all the others, even two meters away ».

Institutions also take the field

The importance of melanoma prevention is also clear to political institutions, as demonstrated by the European Cancer Plan of the European Commissionwhich includes an analysis on exposure to UV radiation, including those from sun beds, as part of the monitoring of radiation that can cause tumors.

The attention of the institutions returned on the occasion of the event “Defeating melanoma: knowing to prevent, innovating to cure”, promoted byHon. Angela Ianaro to bring melanoma prevention initiatives back to the center of political debate. As the Ianaro bill recalls “Provisions for the prevention of cutaneous melanoma”melanoma represents a health challenge to be faced with an articulated and coherent strategy, in which prevention plays an essential role.

The experience of other countries shows that a correct and systematic awareness raising effort, accompanied by targeted screening, can favor a decrease in cases. Because of thisgoes on L’Hon. Angela Ianaro – now that we finally see the end of the hardest phases of the pandemic, it is necessary to return to focus scientific, political and public attention on those pathologies that can be defeated if treated early and with the most advanced therapeutic options.

All information on the initiatives of the Beyond the Skin – Prevention at the center campaign is available on the Facebook page @OltreLaPelleMelanoma and on www.oltrelapelle.it.

[1] ISS, https://www.epicentro.iss.it/melanoma/

[2] AIOM-AIRTUM, Cancer numbers in Italy 2020, Intermedia Editore 2021.

[3] Parker ER. The influence of climate change on skin cancer incidence – A review of the evidence. Int J Womens Dermatol. 2020 Jul 17; 7 (1): 17-27. doi: 10.1016 / j.ijwd.2020.07.003. Erratum in: Int J Womens Dermatol. 2021 Sep 28; 7 (5Part B): 867. PMID: 33537393; PMCID: PMC7838246.

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