Melanoma Awareness, Myth Busters, Sun Safety, Skin Cancer
A recent report by the American Association for Cancer Research showed an increased risk among women who experienced at least five blistering sunburns between the ages of 15 to 21.
Among the participants, those who reported a larger number of sunburns earlier in life showed an 80% higher chance of getting melanoma in later years and a 68% chance of getting basal cell carcinoma.
The link between early-life sunburns and instances of melanoma is especially important for those living in Australia, considering that two out of every three Australians will develop some form of skin cancer before their seventieth birthday, with about 2,000 Australians dying every year to the disease.
Knowing what increases your risk can help protect from skin cancer in the first place.
What Happens When Your Skin Becomes Sunburned?
We need to understand that sunburn itself does not cause skin cancer. It is the overexposure to the dangerous ultraviolet radiation that damages skin cells, weakening them and creating the opportunity for cancer to form. Sunburn is simply a symptom that highlights this skin damage.
Whenever your skin is exposed to UV light, it reacts by producing more melatonin. This helps to darken the skin, which works to protect cells from further damage. That is why those with paler skin tend to burn more easily; they are more susceptible to UV damage.
Since skin cancer is caused by the cumulative effects of UVB exposure, it makes sense that repeated sunburns can increase your chances of developing skin cancer later on.
Statistics show that just five blistering sunburns as a teenager can substantially increase your risk of developing skin cancer. A person’s total risk level depends on multiple factors, which may include:
Could you be at risk? Take our quick risk quiz to find out.
Above: If a mole is larger than 6mm get it checked.
Skin Cancer Symptoms
Practicing good prevention techniques is one of the best ways to stave off skin cancer, but what do you do if you have already experienced multiple sunburns over a lifetime and are concerned about developing skin cancer? Knowing the signs and symptoms of skin cancer is a vital component to staying healthy.
Read the MoleMap Guide to Checking Your Skin here.
Here are some common signs to watch out for. Think ABCDE
Above: Get regular skin checks to catch melanoma at it's early stage.
Early Detection Is the Key to Healthier Skin
Early detection is vital to eliminating the risk of skin cancer and ensuring your skin is healthy.
If you notice a suspicious spot on your skin when you do your self-check, consider having it checked for your peace of mind. If you have not tried conducting a regular self-examination, this article about how to know the difference between a normal mole from a cancerous mole can help you get started.
To find out if you are at risk, take our quick risk quiz assessment to find out.
Note: This quick questionnaire is designed to give you an idea of your personal skin cancer risk factors.
It isn’t intended to be a substitute for medical advice or diagnosis – please contact us if you have any questions about your skin cancer risk.
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