An analysis of the relationship between the anatomic site of cutaneous melanoma, sun exposure, and phenotype was conducted in 355 women with histologically confirmed superficial-spreading melanoma and in 935 control subjects. The most frequent site for superficial-spreading melanoma was the leg. However, when major sun-related and phenotype risk factors were examined by site, risk ratios were lowest for melanomas that occurred on the leg. A history of frequent sunburns during elementary or high school, increased number of self-assessed large nevi, and blond hair were more strongly associated with melanoma sites other than the leg. Tumors on the trunk were more likely than tumors at other sites to be associated with histological evidence of a preexisting nevus. Results of this work indicate that associations between melanoma phenotypic factors may differ by anatomic site.

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