VIENNA, Feb. 10 (Xinhua) -- A new study from the Medical University of Vienna in Austria has found that melanoma incidences increase with altitude, though the mortality rate from the cancers decreases.
The reason for this contradiction is unclear, the researchers at the Institute of Environmental Hygiene at the University said. Study head Hans Moshammer said it could be related to improved vitamin D supply at higher altitudes.
He said at an altitude of 10 metres above sea level and observed per year, the incidences of melanoma increase by two percent due to higher, more intense sun exposure. The mortality rate rate however drops 0.4 percent per 10 metres for men, and 0.7 percent for women.
This may be due to doctors and patients paying more attention to potential skin cancers at higher altitudes. Though Moshammer told the APA he thinks the increased vitamin D production due to increased sunlight exposure at the higher altitudes which hinder the development of various cancers, perhaps also melanoma, may also be a key factor.
The Viennese team, said the overall mortality rate for the disease, particularly dangerous if treated too late, had increased in recent times largely due to climate change, including stronger UV radiation due to a weakened ozone layer.