CHICAGO (AP) -- U.S. melanoma deaths dropped significantly in people ages 20 to 44 years over the past three decades, thanks in part to educational campaigns about the dangers of too much sun, researchers say.
The decline among young adults in deaths from melanoma -- the most severe form of skin cancer -- occurred from 1969 to 1999.
Overall melanoma death rates actually increased during that period from 2 per 100,000 people to 3 per 100,000, because of a rise among other age groups, especially the 45-and-older set.
But among young adults, death rates fell 39 percent in women and 29 percent in men, the researchers found in an analysis of national health data on whites. Light-skinned people are most vulnerable to melanoma.
"Positive effects of public education" emphasizing the dangers of too much sun probably contributed to the declines, the researchers said.
The study was done by Boston University researcher Alan Geller and colleagues. Their findings appear in Wednesday's Journal of the American Medical Association.
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