Skin cancer: how to prevent it and the importance of research

Skin cancer: how to prevent it and the importance of research

Cutaneous melanoma is the third most common cancer under the age of 50. AIRC supports research and recalls the importance of prevention

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The incidence of melanoma has increased significantly in the last 10 years: it is estimated that in 2020 it affected about 14,800 people (8,100 men and 6,700 women), with a growth of 20% compared to 2019 and 15% compared to 2011.

The increase can be partly attributed to greater attention to this pathology and the availability of better diagnostic tools, but in large part is due to the use of UV tanning lamps, particularly in the early years of the millennium. (Source: AIOM, AIRTUM, AIOM Foundation and PASSI, Cancer numbers in Italy 2020).

The sun, or rather the ultraviolet UVA and UVB rays, have many positive effects on the body. Excessive exposure, however, represents the main risk factor for skin melanoma, the most aggressive of skin cancers, which in Italy is the third most frequent cancer under the age of 50.

AIRC's commitment to research

While diagnoses have increased, 5-year survival has grown to 87%, with an increase of about 15% in recent decades, thanks to earlier diagnoses and research advances, which have significantly improved the treatment of this pathology, for example immunotherapy.

AIRC Foundation for Cancer Research is making an important contribution to these advances: in 2020 alone, it has allocated approximately 7.5 million euros to 32 projects, 2 special programs and 16 scholarships in this area. The commitment of the researchers is aimed in particular at:

  • research tools to identify patients at risk and therapeutic strategies to prevent relapses
  • study how to improve the effectiveness of therapies for metastatic disease and how to overcome resistance
  • combine immunotherapy with targeted therapies and other treatments (such as surgery and radiotherapy) in advanced forms
  • analyze the genetic profile of the tumor in pediatric patients or any mutations present in people with familiarity, to identify elements that can predispose to the disease evaluate the role of the immune system in the course of the disease and study how to stimulate it to act against the tumor by changing life.


To raise public awareness of the risks and benefits of the sun's rays, the AIRC ambassador Giulia Arena also takes the field. The popular face of the Paradise of the Ladies recalls some simple rules for exposing ourselves to the sun without damaging our skin, especially in summer, when the risk increases due to the extension of the exposed surface, for prolonged exposure times and for more solar radiation. intense.

AIRC's Instagram, Facebook and YouTube channels host a series of appointments with science communicators, doctors and researchers to tell about the progress of research, studies for the development of new drugs and provide useful information for correct exposure to the sun. In addition to a series of advice and information that can be found on the Foundation's website.


Cutaneous melanoma

Tag: Cancer

Category: Health
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