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Does sunscreen really protect from skin cancer: myths and reality


skin cancer and sunscreen

skin cancer and sunscreen

The increase in the incidence of skin cancer in recent decades is strongly linked to exposure occurring in the course of outdoor or leisure activities, which are increasingly popular.

Over exposure to sunlight is widely recognized as the underlying cause of the harmful effects seen on the skin, eyes and immune system.

Adopting the following simple precautions, which are taken from the SunWise School Program, could make a real difference.

Shade, clothing and hats provide the best protection - and it becomes necessary to apply sunscreen to parts of the body that remain exposed, such as the face and hands.

Why sunscreen use was associated with increased risk, not decreased risk of skin melanoma?

Sunscreens were primarily designed to prevent sunburn. Studies have shown that patients with a history of sunburn are at higher risk of developing skin melanoma.

The use of a sunscreen delays the onset of sunburns and delays the onset of other skin lesions induced by ultraviolet2, these products have been recommended for the prevention of skin cancer.

Several randomized trials have shown that the use of a high SPF sunscreen during unintentional exposure reduces the occurrence of actinic keratosis and squamous cell carcinoma.

But using a high SPF sunscreen causes people to stay in the sun longer, and possibly increases the risk of melanoma. Be aware that using a high SPF sunscreen does not protect against sunburn with intentional sun exposure, and it is unlikely to provide sufficient protection against melanoma in this situation.

So how should we advise people?

In everyday outdoor life, sunscreen is an important part of an overall sun protection strategy. This strategy involves staying dressed and covered and taking steps to reduce the time spent in the sun.

Sun worshipers who insist on indulging in intentional sun exposure should be warned that using sunscreen could increase their sun exposure and risk of skin cancer.

Sunscreen should never be used to prolong the duration of exposure:

  • Limit the duration of sun exposure during hot hours.

  • Pay attention to the UV index.

  • Know how to take advantage of the shade.

  • Wear protective clothing.

  • Apply sunscreen.

  • Avoid ultraviolet lamps and tanning booths.

  • Children need special protection.

Skin cancer in people with dark skin: myths and reality

“Anybody can get skin cancer, no matter the color of their skin,” says Michigan Medicine dermatologist Kelly Cha, M.D., Ph.D.

It is true that people with darker skin are less prone to skin cancer than people with lighter skin. Blacks have lower rates of melanoma, but are more likely to be diagnosed at a later stage with a high death rate.

They have a five-year survival rate of 69% compared to 93% in whites, according to the American Cancer Society.

Note that darker skin is not a reliable shield against life-threatening skin cancer. Despite a higher incidence of cutaneous melanoma in whites, the overall survival for cutaneous melanoma in non-whites was significantly lower.

That's why everyone should protect themselves and get regular skin cancer screenings.

Sunscreen can also be applied around the eyes

British researchers have conducted a study on how to apply sunscreen to the face. And it appears that the area around the eyelids is vastly underestimated.

The eyelids are very vulnerable to UV; however, it is the most exposed to skin cancer, scientists warn.

Children are growing and are more sensitive to environmental risks than adults because:

Sun exposure during childhood and adolescence appears to create the conditions for melanoma or other skin cancer to develop in the lifespan; much of the exposure a person will experience in their lifetime will occur before the age of 18.



American Cancer Society.