Study Links Sun Exposure to Risk of Skin Cancer


The risk of developing the most common form of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma, may increase with greater lifetime exposure to the sun, according to a new study.

The research was presented at the American Association for Cancer Research’s annual meeting, in Philadelphia.

“Our results suggest that increased levels of lifetime sun exposure could be an important risk factor for basal cell carcinoma,” said Dr. Antoinette D. Tan, assistant professor of dermatology at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, in Newark.

“In high-risk populations, including those with a family history of skin cancer and/or multiple prior skin cancers, future studies should focus on sun protection measures that can be taken to prevent further skin cancers from occurring,” she added in a meeting news release.

A study of English and Scottish men over 30 years found a strong link between sun exposure and the risk of developing basal cell carcinoma, which is the most common type of skin cancer. The study also found that the risk of developing this cancer increased with an individual’s lifetime sun exposure.

The findings were published online on April 12 in the British Journal of Dermatology.

The researchers gathered data from more than 4,000 volunteers who had been treated for basal cell carcinoma at hospitals in Scotland and England between 1992 and 2005. They compared these patients to 2,000 people who had not been diagnosed with the disease.

The volunteers provided the researchers with information about where they had lived in their lifetimes, how much time they spent outside each day, and how often they used sunscreen.

After analyzing the volunteers’ responses, the researchers calculated that people who saw a lot of sunlight during their lifetimes had a two-fold increased risk for developing basal cell carcinoma than people who did not.

They also found that those who experienced three or more blistering sunburns before age 20 had a 70% higher risk for getting basal cell carcinoma than those who did not experience this type of burn.

A new study shows that people who have greater lifetime exposure to sunlight have an increased risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma, the two most common types of skin cancer. The researchers found no link between high levels of sun exposure and melanoma, a more dangerous form of cancer. But they did note that these results are not definitive.

The study, published online Monday in the Archives of Dermatology, was based on a survey of nearly 1,100 cancer-free people in the San Francisco Bay area, who were asked about their lifetime sun exposure, skin color and other factors.

The results showed that people with a history of prolonged sun exposure were about three times as likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma and twice as likely to develop basal cell carcinoma compared with people who had spent less time in the sun. Researchers said a fair-skinned person who has experienced severe sunburns at least four times is at greatest risk for developing either type of skin cancer, according to the study.

Melanoma is responsible for fewer cases than the other two forms but causes 75 percent of skin cancer deaths in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The new study found no link between lifetime sun exposure and melan

When it comes to skin cancer, exposure to ultraviolet light is a major risk factor. But just how much sun exposure raises the risk of basal cell carcinoma, one of the most common types of skin cancer, has remained unclear.

Now a new study, published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, provides some answers.

The researchers found that the risk of basal cell carcinoma was significantly higher among people who had spent more time in the sun early in life. But by midlife, the intensity and duration of exposure had little effect on the risk. The findings suggest that avoiding excessive sun exposure during childhood may be important for preventing basal cell carcinoma later in life.

“Sun exposure early in life plays a key role in determining whether or not you get this disease,” said Dr. Anne Kricker, an epidemiologist at The University of Sydney and an author of the study. “There’s an association with chronic sun exposure later in life, but it’s nowhere near as strong.”

But while limiting sun exposure during childhood may help prevent basal cell carcinoma, Dr. Kricker noted that children need some sunlight to produce Vitamin D. She suggests exposing children to moderate amounts of sunlight early in the day rather than later on when it is more intense and

A study of more than 112,000 people has found that those who get sunburned at least once a year are 80 percent more likely to get basal cell carcinoma, the most common form of skin cancer.

The study, appearing in the Jan. 12 issue of Archives of Dermatology, is one of the few to examine the impact of sun exposure and sunburn on the risk for skin cancers other than melanoma. Previous research has suggested that regular use of sunscreen and avoiding sunburn can reduce the risk of melanoma by about 50 percent.

Skin cancer is the most common form of human cancer in the United States, with an estimated 1 million new cases diagnosed each year. Basal cell carcinomas account for approximately 75 percent to 80 percent of all skin cancers and are rarely fatal, but they can cause disfigurement and be costly to treat and remove surgically. Melanoma accounts for less than 5 percent of skin cancers but causes about 80 percent of all skin cancer deaths.

The researchers surveyed 112,566 men and women between 1992 and 2003 as part of the Iowa Women’s Health Study. They found that people who experienced five or more sunburns per year were 80 percent more likely to develop basal cell carcinoma than those who had fewer

A new study links sun exposure to skin cancer. People who have intense, intermittent exposure to sunlight are at a higher risk for developing basal cell carcinoma than those who are exposed to high levels of sunlight over a long time, researchers found.

The findings suggest that the kind of sun exposure that is typical for sunbathers or people who take weekend trips to the beach may be more dangerous than the daily, year-round exposure that is common in hot climates.

“If you have one of these long, hot weekends with a lot of intense sun exposure and you get a really bad sunburn, you may be at increased risk for skin cancer,” said lead researcher Dr. Anne L. Chappelka, an assistant professor of dermatology at North Carolina University School of Medicine in Chapel Hill.

A new study finds that even though most Americans know they should use sunscreen to prevent skin cancer, many choose not to.

The study was published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. It found that the majority of people who had ever been diagnosed with skin cancer said they knew when they were young adults that sun exposure increased their risk for the disease.

“This study suggests that much more needs to be done to educate people about the importance of sun protection,” says Dr. Mona Saraiya, a dermatologist and epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and lead author of the study.

The research is based on data from a large national health survey of more than 69,000 adults in 2009 and 2010 conducted by the CDC. Respondents were asked questions about their knowledge of sun protection and behaviors related to skin cancer prevention. The survey also sought information on whether respondents had ever been diagnosed with skin cancer.

The researchers found that overall, two-thirds of those surveyed knew that sun exposure increases one’s risk for skin cancer. But only 39 percent of whites and 17 percent of Hispanics reported using sunscreen while outdoors on a typical day in summer.

It is well known that overexposure to ultraviolet radiation from


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