A new study conducted using extensive medical records of over one million Israeli adolescents before military service shows clearly how exposure to the Israeli sun of young, light-skinned children increases substantially the risk of cutaneous melanoma (a serious form of skin cancer).
The incidence of cutaneous melanoma is on the rise in all parts of the world where light-skinned people live. Rates have tripled over the last decades in the United States, and the rise was even steeper in Europe.
What about in Israel? What segments of the population are more at risk and at what stage? Dr. Hagai Levine and Prof. Jeremy Kark from the Hebrew University-Hadassah Braun School of Public Health and Community Medicine and other researchers set out to find the answers, using records of young Jewish males who were examined between 1967 and 2005. These men were followed up by data linkage for cancer incidence until the end of 2006. Females were not included because their baseline data were available only for a more recent period.
In their study, the researchers found – not surprisingly – a quadrupled higher risk of skin cancer among native-born Israelis of European origin (including the Americas, Australia and South Africa) and those immigrating from those countries over those of North African or Asian origin.