Skin cancer study co-authored by Sangeeta Marwaha, MD, featured in New York Times

Sangeeta Marwaha, MD, dermatologist with The Permanente Medical Group and co-author of a new study published in JAMA Dermatology, told The New York Times that as people better understand and respect the sun’s impacts, they are developing fewer skin cancers.

“There’s been an increase in sun-protective habits and a resulting decrease in the development of skin cancer,” said Dr. Marwaha, who practices at the Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento Medical Center. “Parents today are more likely to protect their children from undue sun exposure, and the use of sunscreen is now more mainstream.”

The New York Times article, “Paying the Price for Sun Damage,” highlights a study led by Lisa Herrinton, PhD, epidemiologist with the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Northern California, and co-authored by Dr. Marwaha.

The study followed about 450,000 members of Kaiser Permanente Northern California with a diagnosis of actinic keratosis — a precancerous rough, scaly skin lesion caused by years of unprotected sun exposure.

The researchers found that actinic keratosis was a precursor to developing skin cancer: those under age 50 with an actinic keratosis diagnosis were nearly 7 times more likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma, a skin cancer, during the study’s 10-year follow-up period, than those who did not have actinic keratosis.

At the same time, the Kaiser Permanente study showed that fewer skin cancers were being detected among study participants over time. With equal follow-up, the risk of study participants developing skin cancer in 2018 was two-thirds that of those studied in 2008.

Note: Read the entire article in The New York Times.