(HealthDay News) — Patients with cutaneous malignant melanoma (CMM) may actually increase their exposure to ultraviolet radiation in the first 3 years after diagnosis, according to a study published online Sept. 30 in JAMA Dermatology.

Luise Winkel Idorn, M.D., Ph.D., from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, and colleagues compared changes in sun behavior and ultraviolet radiation exposure from the first to the third summer after a diagnosis of CMM among 21 patients and 21 controls matched by sex, age, occupation, and constitutive skin type.

Related: Skin Cancer Resource Center

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The researchers found that patients with melanoma showed a significant increase in exposure to ultraviolet radiation. After the second year, the dosage was higher than controls, who maintained a stable dose. The two groups were similar in terms of the number of days with body exposure or with sunscreen use in the second and third years of follow-up.

“Our findings suggest that patients with CMM do not maintain a cautious sun behavior in connection with an increase in ultraviolet radiation exposure, especially on days with body exposure, when abroad, and on holidays,” Idorn and colleagues conclude.