Applying sunscreen since childhood can reduce the risk of melanoma.
Australians aged 18 to 40 who regularly used sunscreen during childhood reduced their risk of developing melanoma by 40% compared to others, according to a study published in the medical journal JAMA Dermatol. Melanoma is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australian men aged 25 to 49 years and the second most common cancer in women aged 25 to 49 years after breast cancer.
Researchers at the University of Sydney in Australia consulted data on the use of sunscreen collected through interviews with 603 people who developed melanoma and 1,088 participants in a control group.
This is the first study to examine the association between the use of sunscreen and the risk of melanoma in young people under 40 years of age.
“Our study shows that the use of sunscreen in childhood and adulthood protects against melanomas in young people from 18 to 40 years old, with a reduced risk of 35 to 40% for regular users of sunscreen,” explained Professor Anne Cust, who leads the research group on epidemiology and cancer prevention at the School of Public Health at the University of Sydney and the Melanoma Institute Australia.
“The association of sun exposure and sunburn with risk of melanoma, especially in children, is well established and this study has shown that regular use of sunscreen protects against the adverse effects of exposure to the sun.
Although sunscreens are widely available and recommended for protection against the sun, optimizing the use of sunscreens remains a challenge and controversies continue to surround its use. This study confirms that sunscreen is an effective form of protection and reduces the risk of developing melanoma as a young adult. Sunscreen should be applied regularly during childhood and throughout adulthood when the UV index is 3 or more, to reduce the risk of developing melanoma and other skin cancers, according to the researchers.