International Health organisations agree that sun exposure is the main cause of skin cancers. Skin cancer is caused by damage to DNA (skin cells) from ultra violet (UV) light combined with failure to repair that damage effectively and/or failure to remove the pre-cancerous skin lesions.
Scientists estimate that heavy sun exposure causes at least two thirds (and probably more) of all malignant melanomas and up to 90% of all non-melanoma skin cacners.
People who receive the highest exposures to the sun have about 20-35% higher risks of melanoma, but sun burn increases the risk of this disease even more. Two analyses of several studies showed that sunburn at any age doubles the risk of malignant melanoma.
Recent studies have shown intense, intermittent sun exposure, such as holiday sun bathing, pose the greatest risk of malignant melanomas. The recent increase in the number of people taking last minute cheap holidays abroad may contribute to the rising number of melanoma cases.
Skin cancer is important becasue it is being increasingly more common, it is preventable and most if diagnosed early enough are treatable.
To protect your self from the sun:
- cover up
- seek shade 11-3
- wear a hat
- wear sunglasses
- drink lots of water
- apply SPF 15+ UVA/UVB suncream every 2 hours (SPF 30+ for fair skinned and children)
- Don't burn!