News Release

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Skin Cancer Information is Newest Offering on NIHSeniorHealth Website

Those who have reached middle age and beyond can remember when deep tans were thought to be beautiful and healthy. Back then, it was not widely recognized that hours spent sunbathing could increase the risk for skin cancer. It was not until the early 1980s that public health experts began to advise against tanning as one important way to reduce the risk of skin cancer. Older Americans concerned about this condition can learn more about it by visiting, a website developed by the National Institutes of Health with the needs of older people in mind.

Skin cancer is the latest of NIHSeniorHealth’s 32 health topics of interest to older adults. The new Web feature defines skin cancer, covers the causes and risks, as well as symptoms, screening and diagnosis. It also explains treatments and the latest research on skin cancer. Online quizzes help reinforce the information presented as Web users explore pages within the skin cancer topic area.

“Skin cancer can manifest itself many years after an initial tan or burn,” says John E. Niederhuber, M.D., director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), a component of NIH. “Therefore, it is important for older people to be aware of the risks.” NCI developed the content for the new skin cancer section of the NIHSeniorHealth website.

One of the fastest growing age groups using the Internet, older Americans increasingly turn to the World Wide Web for health information. In fact, 68 percent of wired seniors surf for health and medical information when they go online.

NIHSeniorHealth is based on the latest research on cognition and aging. It features short, easy-to-read segments of information that can be accessed in a variety of formats, including various large-print type sizes, open-captioned videos and an audio version. The site also links to MedlinePlus, the National Library of Medicine’s premier, more detailed site for consumer health information.

The NIHSeniorHealth website is a joint effort of the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and the National Library of Medicine (NLM) which are components of the National Institutes of Health.

NIA leads the federal effort supporting and conducting research on aging and the health and well-being of older people. NLM, the world's largest library of the health sciences, creates and sponsors Web-based health information resources for the public and professionals. NCI, established under the National Cancer Institute Act of 1937, is the federal government's principal agency for cancer research and training.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

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