Why is it that some sunbathers get melanoma, or skin cancer, and some don't? One unsuspected risk factor is endometriosis, and a woman who has had the problem is nearly twice as likely to also develop melanoma.
Endometriosis affects around 2 million women in the UK, and 10 million in the US, and it's a painful condition that occurs when cells that usually line the womb start replicating elsewhere in the body.
But it also seems to dramatically increase the woman's chances of getting melanoma, French researchers have discovered.
A possible link has been suggested in the past, but researchers overseeing a major women's health study, involving 98,995 participants, decided to find out. During 12 years of follow-up, they discovered that women who had endometriosis were almost twice as likely to develop melanoma. They also discovered a possible risk for women who had fibroma.
There was no increased risk for women who suffered from ovarian cysts, uterine polyp, breast adenoma or breast fibrocystic disease.
(Source: Archives of Internal Medicine, 2007; 167: 2061-5).