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Journal of Skin Cancer
Volume 2011, Article ID 858425, 6 pages
Research Article

Worldwide Increasing Incidences of Cutaneous Malignant Melanoma

Center for Devices and Radiological Health, Food and Drug Administration, 10903 New Hampshire Avenue, WO64-4024, Silver Spring, MD 20993, USA

Received 20 November 2010; Revised 6 April 2011; Accepted 11 August 2011

Academic Editor: Arash Kimyai-Asadi

Copyright © 2011 Dianne E. Godar. 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.


The incidence of cutaneous malignant melanoma (CMM) has been increasing at a steady rate in fair-skinned populations around the world for decades. Scientists are not certain why CMM has been steadily increasing, but strong, intermittent UVB (290–320 nm) exposures, especially sunburn episodes, probably initiate, CMM, while UVA (321–400 nm) passing through glass windows in offices and cars probably promotes it. The CMM incidence may be increasing at an exponential rate around the world, but it definitely decreases with increasing latitude up to ~50°N where it reverses and increases with the increasing latitude. The inversion in the incidence of CMM may occur because there is more UVA relative to UVB for most of the year at higher latitudes. If windows, allowing UVA to enter our indoor-working environment and cars, are at least partly responsible for the increasing incidence of CMM, then UV filters can be applied to reduce the rate of increase worldwide.