The Mayo Clinic Report On Melanoma Among Young Women, What Does It Hide?
The last two weeks, media has been flooded with articles echoing a press-release from the Mayo Clinic about a report of the increase in melanoma cases among young women in a small county in Minnesota. Here are some examples of the headlines:
“Mayo Clinic blames tanning salons for sharp increase in melanoma cases”
“Tanning beds may be to blame for skin cancer spike”
98% of the comments to news-papers articles and blog posts are in agreement with the discrediting of tanning beds as the main cause of the melanoma increase described in the report. Only a handful of comments are critical towards the conclusion.
If nothing else, this shows that the sun-scare lobby has succeeded to hammer their propaganda about the dangers with tanning beds very hard into the heads of journalists, bloggers and common people. So hard that almost no one question a report like this and does some efforts to dig a little bit deeper than to the text in the press-release.
So what is wrong with the Mayo Clinic report on melanoma among young women and the press-release?
1. The population
The selected population for the research is not typical. Not for USA, and probably not for any other country in the world.
Obviously Olmsted County, Minnesota, was selected just because of the possibility to gather this non-typical statistic showing an increase in melanoma among young women. The statistic for USA as whole actually shows a decrease. Another interesting fact is that Olmsted County has 15 times more dermatologists per capita than the US average. And it’s a well-known fact that the more doctors, the higher sickness rate.
2. The research method does not relate to the total amount of patients
The statistics were gathered by counting the ﬁrst lifetime diagnosis of cutaneous melanoma for 256 people with ages between 18 and 39 years, between January 1, 1970, and December 31, 2009.
Of course it would be very interesting to see the total amount of people seeking consultation for skin-lesions during this period. Likewise it would be fascinating to observe the increase of dermatologists in Olmsted during the same time. Most likely both those curves would show a much steeper increase that the “8-fold increase in melanoma diagnosis among young women”.
3. The diagnosis might suffer from “melanoma inﬂation”
Thankfully enough, the mortality among the melanoma victims was dramatically decreased. One reason is of course the early diagnosis and removal of skin-lesions, melanoma or not. But the report also includes this (honest) reason …
“Another possible explanation for the decrease in mortality among this patient population is a change over time in the histologic criteria for the diagnosis of melanoma. This concept of “melanoma inﬂation” suggests that patients who were believed to have melanoma were never at risk for morbidity or mortality because the lesion removed was in fact biologically benign.”
4. The conclusion about the cause (i.e. tanning) is not supported by the study itself.
The subjects investigated in the study were actually never questioned about their indoor tanning habits (and neither about outdoor tanning, smoking or use of sun-protection cosmetics – all which are factors commonly attributed to an increased risk for melanoma). Or maybe they were questioned but their answers were not enough supportive for the purpose of the report? Tanning beds are therefore only mentioned in the report by referring to other reports as …
”young women are more likely than young men to participate in activities that increase the risk of melanoma, including voluntary exposure to artiﬁcial sunlamps.”
So here we have a study in which tanning behaviour was not even investigated but which still is blaming tanning beds with reference to other studies also they manipulated to fuel the sun-scare. That is the evil circle of black PR from the sun-scare mafia.
4. The study was financed by the beneficiaries from skin-cancer and sun-scare.
Despite the fact that information about tanning habits was absent in the study, tanning was demonised in the press-release and in interviews with the authors. Here is an example from one news-report …
“As per a research, which has been published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings, it has been revealed that despite repeated warnings about potential dangers involved in getting tanned, cases of melanoma keep on increasing. Lead author Jerry D. Brewer, who is an Assistant Professor of dermatology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, said that the health experts keep on saying that it is necessary to apply sunscreen at the time when one steps out in the sun and on other days as well. But people do not follow this simple advice in order to get a tanned look and this is the reason that skin cancer cases are on rise.
Brewer further affirmed that he would like to break the myth that it is healthy to get tanned, as it has been proven that tanning destroys the skin. In addition, he would also like to tell that artificial tanning is also not healthy and in fact are more harmful than natural tanning.
This is due to the reason that tanning beds produce 10 to 15 times more heat than being produced by UV radiation. The study has revealed many hard hitting statistics like there has been eight times increase in the skin cancer cases between 1970 and 2009 among women.”
That is the opinion by prof. Brewer, but maybe there are some other motives than the health of young women behind those outright lies?
To answer this question, let’s look at the affiliation between Brewer and one of the main benefactors of the tanning-scare campaign.
Hidden behind the tab named “Supplementary Material” in the Proceedings from the study we find this note:
“Dr Brewer is a recipient of a Dermatology Foundation Career Development Award for the study of lymphoma-associated skin cancer.” (Actually Dr Brewer received research rewards from the Dermatology Foundation every year during 2009, 2010 and 2011).
Sounds innocent and scientific enough until we take a look at who is the main sponsor of the “Dermatology Foundation”. Here we find as a “Cornerstone Benefactor ($500,000 or more)”, the company Galderma; a company producing skin remedies for dermatologists and which in 2011 “reported sales of 1.4 billion euros, with a growth of 11.5% over 2010”.
And guess who the owner of Galderma is?
Of course, the “founder of sun-scare”, L’Oréal.
Can any sane person really believe that a company that make billions in profit on their efforts to keep us sick and “in the dark” with their sun-scare campaign, wouldn’t do everything they can to prevent maybe the only real remedy for most cancers and skin-disorders (i.e. regular and moderate tanning) to be freely available to the public?
Well, judging from the media-coverage, comments and political initiatives to make tanning illegal, most people seem to be insanely convinced that tanning is dangerous. When will they came to their senses?