START A PETITION 27,000,000 members: the world's largest community for good

A Surprising Cause of Melanoma

  • 1 of 7
A Surprising Cause of Melanoma

Photo Courtesy Of: Fuse/Thinkstock

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.”

Melanoma Increases Due to Benign Disease, Not Sunlight

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.

They noted:

“There was no change in the combined incidence of the other stages of the disease, and the overall mortality only increased from 2.16 to 2.54 cases per 100,000 per year We therefore conclude that the large increase in reported incidence is likely to be due to diagnostic drift, which classifies benign lesions as stage 1 melanoma.”

In other words, people are being diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer even when they have only a minimal, non-cancerous lesion, and these diagnoses appear to be skewing disease rates significantly. Further, adding even more credence to the growing body of evidence showing sun exposure is not the primary cause of melanoma, the researchers noted that the distribution of the lesions reported did not correspond to the sites of lesions caused by sun exposure.

They concluded:

“These findings should lead to a reconsideration of the treatment of ‘early’ lesions, a search for better diagnostic methods to distinguish them from truly malignant melanomas, re-evaluation of the role of ultraviolet radiation and recommendations for protection from it, as well as the need for a new direction in the search for the cause of melanoma.”

  • 1 of 7

Read more: Cancer, Health, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

have you shared this story yet?

go ahead, give it a little love

Dr. Mercola

Dr. Mercola has been passionate about health and technology for most of his life. As a doctor of osteopathic medicine, he treated many thousands of patients for over 20 years. In the mid 90s he integrated his passion for natural health with modern technology via the internet and developed a website, to spread the word about natural ways to achieve optimal health.


+ add your own
4:49PM PST on Feb 21, 2012

I'm totally perplexed...

5:02PM PST on Feb 20, 2012


6:08AM PST on Feb 11, 2012


11:47AM PST on Feb 8, 2012

Overall, it sounds like good information. Thanks for sharing.

1:18PM PST on Feb 7, 2012

Ciekawy artykuł. Sama mam problem ze zmianami skórnymi, kilka znamion usuniętych, do tej pory miałam zakaz ekspozycji na światło słoneczne, i teraz jestem w kropce. Na razie u nas ostra zima i nie ma problemu, a później?

7:15AM PST on Feb 1, 2012

I don't view the call to take part in testing as a "sales" tactic. It is an offer to prove a point, to support an underfunded research, and a time to prove a long overdue health benefit for generations to come. It's just another opportunity to "pay it forward", to use a cliche. We all need to take part in more of these opportunities.

I am so happy to see this finally making mainstream publications. This is the same knowledge that has been taught in the fundamental naturopathic field for over a century. Because of my own studies and research, I have long believed that sunscreens were the cause of skin cancer in many ways - not just the exposure to chemicals, but also blocking healing rays. I have never used sunscreen as I feared them way more than the sun. I guess it's a matter of what knowledge you are taught first. And I was taught that the sun heals and why it does so way before I heard about the allopathic version of the sun causing life threatening damage.

Personally, I believe, as much as possible, in methods that were in place in 1900. Simple, non-invasive, nurturing, as opposed to the fear-based medical model we see in modern society that is bent on intimidation, highly destructive chemicals & barbaric experimentation for it's limited successes.

5:26AM PST on Feb 1, 2012

I knew about Vit D.

11:28PM PST on Jan 31, 2012

The majority of Doctors are so busy making money that they don't get time to catch up on the latest developments which are published in the "Lancet".
I live in BC where we have grey skies for most of the year, so its essential to take Vit D.

8:12PM PST on Jan 31, 2012

Thank you Dr. Mercola. This is, of course, against mainstream medical thinking, and certainly you will be vilified by the cosmetic industry for daring to say you should not put that chemical-laden stuff they call sun screen, but I want you to know I think you are right on!

3:02PM PST on Jan 31, 2012

Yet again something natural we were told to avoid is indeed a cure for the disease we were told it was causing. We must all remember how science is inexact.

add your comment

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

people are talking

I've got to say that this made me feel dumb as a brick! But I'm now a bit better informed, thanks.

Yeah, no, not so cute, sorry. If my dogs did this, I'd probably be asking them to go away most of t…

To add to the teeth 'over brushing' bit, using a sonic rechargeable tooth brush is a gentle way to c…

Sorry, Carrie, I am going to go with the scientific assessment of the world's most respected scienti…


Select names from your address book   |   Help

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.

site feedback


Problem on this page? Briefly let us know what isn't working for you and we'll try to make it right!