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After Melanoma People Head Back To The Sun

Update Date: Oct 05, 2013 11:29 AM EDT

Precautions for the most dangerous type of skin cancer don't last longer, a new study finds. These precautions include tendency to stay out of the sun and wear extra sunscreen the year after being diagnosed.

Once a patient is diagnosed with melanoma, two to three years after they spent as many days in sun. They were also exposed to at least as much UV radiation as their peers without the disease.

"Something tells us that they relax more when time passes by after diagnosis," Dr. Luise Idorn, the study's lead author from Bispebjerg Hospital in Copenhagen, Denmark, said according to Reuters. "We think they just regress back to old habits."

According to American Cancer Society, the rates of melanoma have been rising in the United States. Predictions are 76,000 new melanoma will be diagnosed in 2013.

The participants of the study recorded the time they spent in the sun. They also wore a watch that measured UV radiation exposure.

"I would have thought that a diagnosis of melanoma would change their behavior. This study indicates they may be more cautious, but only the first year after diagnosis," Idorn added.

Some experts find the results as disturbing and surprising.

"It's disturbing results that these patients who are really at quite high risk of a second melanoma are not reducing their sun exposure," said Brenda Cartmel, from the Yale School of Public Health in New Haven.

However there are experts who found the results as "not entirely surprising".

"It would be interesting to assess sun behaviors before and after the diagnosis of melanoma to determine whether a patient improves from his personal baseline," said Dr. Brundha Balaraman to Reuters Health in an email.

According to Idorn, more research is needed in this field, including focus groups of people with melanoma.

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