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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 538574, 9 pages
Research Article

Skin Cancer, Irradiation, and Sunspots: The Solar Cycle Effect

School of Public Health, State University of New York at Albany, Rensselaer, NY 12144, USA

Received 28 February 2014; Revised 15 June 2014; Accepted 17 June 2014; Published 14 July 2014

Academic Editor: Handan Wand

Copyright © 2014 Edward Valachovic and Igor Zurbenko. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Skin cancer is diagnosed in more than 2 million individuals annually in the United States. It is strongly associated with ultraviolet exposure, with melanoma risk doubling after five or more sunburns. Solar activity, characterized by features such as irradiance and sunspots, undergoes an 11-year solar cycle. This fingerprint frequency accounts for relatively small variation on Earth when compared to other uncorrelated time scales such as daily and seasonal cycles. Kolmogorov-Zurbenko filters, applied to the solar cycle and skin cancer data, separate the components of different time scales to detect weaker long term signals and investigate the relationships between long term trends. Analyses of crosscorrelations reveal epidemiologically consistent latencies between variables which can then be used for regression analysis to calculate a coefficient of influence. This method reveals that strong numerical associations, with correlations >0.5, exist between these small but distinct long term trends in the solar cycle and skin cancer. This improves modeling skin cancer trends on long time scales despite the stronger variation in other time scales and the destructive presence of noise.