The runners had significantly more signs of non-melanoma skin cancer compared with age- and sex-matched controls, reported Christina M. Ambros-Rudolph, M.D., Medical University of Graz, and colleagues, in the November issue of the Archives of Dermatology.
A study of 210 runners recruited from a local marathon, compared with 210 matched controls recruited from a skin cancer screening campaign, showed significantly more atypical moles (47.1% versus 31.4%, P=0.001) and numerous “liver spots” (30.5% versus 20.0%, P=0.01) indicating a greater risk for malignant melanoma.
Writing in the journal Archives of Dermatology, the researchers said this was particularly pronounced in the runners who trained at the highest levels of intensity.
The marathon runners had a higher risk for both malignant melanoma and nonmelanoma skin cancer, the researchers said. Melanoma occurs in the cells that produce pigment and is the leading cause of death from skin disease.
Only 56 percent of the runners said they regularly used sunscreen.