Association between month of birth and melanoma risk: fact or fiction?

Journal article

Publication Details

Author(s): Fiessler C, Pfahlberg AB, Keller A, Radespiel-Troeger M, Uter W, Gefeller O
Journal: International Journal of Epidemiology
Publication year: 2017
Volume: 46
Journal issue: 2
Pages range: 686-693
ISSN: 0300-5771


Background: Evidence on the effect of ultraviolet radiation (UVR) exposure in infancy on melanoma risk in later life is scarce. Three recent studies suggest that people born in spring carry a higher melanoma risk. Our study aimed at verifying whether such a seasonal pattern of melanoma risk actually exists.
Methods: Data from the population-based Cancer Registry Bavaria (CRB) on the birth months of 28 374 incident melanoma cases between 2002 and 2012 were analysed and compared with data from the Bavarian State Office for Statistics and Data Processing on the birth month distribution in the Bavarian population. Crude and adjusted analyses using negative binomial regression models were performed in the total study group and supplemented by several subgroup analyses.
Results: In the crude analysis, the birth months March-May were over-represented among melanoma cases. Negative binomial regression models adjusted only for sex and birth year revealed a seasonal association between melanoma risk and birth month with 13-21% higher relative incidence rates for March, April and May compared with the reference December. However, after additionally adjusting for the birth month distribution of the Bavarian population, these risk estimates decreased markedly and no association with the birth month was observed any more. Similar results emerged in all subgroup analyses.
Conclusions: Our large registry-based study provides no evidence that people born in spring carry a higher risk for developing melanoma in later life and thus lends no support to the hypothesis of higher UVR susceptibility during the first months of life.

FAU Authors / FAU Editors

Fiessler, Cornelia
Lehrstuhl für Biometrie und Epidemiologie
Gefeller, Olaf Prof. Dr.
Lehrstuhl für Biometrie und Epidemiologie
Keller, Andrea
Lehrstuhl für Biometrie und Epidemiologie
Uter, Wolfgang Prof. Dr.
Professur für Epidemiologie

External institutions with authors

Bayerisches Landesamt für Gesundheit und Lebensmittelsicherheit (LGL)

How to cite

Fiessler, C., Pfahlberg, A.B., Keller, A., Radespiel-Troeger, M., Uter, W., & Gefeller, O. (2017). Association between month of birth and melanoma risk: fact or fiction? International Journal of Epidemiology, 46(2), 686-693.

Fiessler, Cornelia, et al. "Association between month of birth and melanoma risk: fact or fiction?" International Journal of Epidemiology 46.2 (2017): 686-693.


Last updated on 2018-10-10 at 12:53