Pregnancy may increase melanoma risk

April 1, 2007

Pregnancy increases the risk of developing melanoma in women under 55 years old, with the risk increasing with increasing number of births, researchers report in the March 1 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Pregnancy increases the risk of developing melanoma in women under 55 years old, with the risk increasing with increasing number of births, researchers report in the March 1 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Margaret A. Tucker, MD, from the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., and colleagues administered a questionnaire to 318 women diagnosed with cutaneous melanoma regarding changes in nevi during pregnancy, use of oral contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy, and personal and medical history.

For women under 55-years-old, compared with matched controls, the researchers found that the risk of melanoma increased with a live birth 5 years before diagnosis (OR 2.6), increasing number of births (OR, 3.3 for three births or more), and changes in nevi during recent pregnancies (OR, 2.9).

Lea CS, Holly EA, Hartge P, et al. Reproductive risk factors for cutaneous melanoma in women: a case-control study. Am J Epidemiol. 2007;165:505-514.