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How Many Sunburns Lead To Skin Cancer

Further Details That Were Reveled In The Study

How Many Sunburns Can Cause Skin Cancer?

The study further confirmed that men with the previous history of one of the two non-melanoma cancers are at increased risk of being diagnosed with secondary cancers, such as melanoma, colon cancer, etc.

The statistical analysis further revealed the dangerous facts of increased evidence of melanoma associated with lips, salivary glands along with myeloma as well as non-Hodgkins lymphoma evidently in the patients with the previous history of non-melanoma cancers. While in search of can skin cancer lead to other cancers, the study further investigated that the risk of non-specific site cancers, like connective tissues etc. can also be increased.

Whereas in the case of females, the studies associated with can skin cancer lead to other cancer have shown that the risk is higher with basal carcinoma than squamous carcinoma. The risk is further observed to be associated only for the first four years of its diagnosis but not thereafter.

Which Type Of Melanoma Has Worse Prognosis

Melanoma diagnosed at an early stage and of a small depth had higher survival rates. Back/breast skin melanoma had poorer prognosis than other anatomic sites. Nodular melanoma had the lowest melanoma-specific survival, while superficial spreading or lentigo maligna had the best prognosis among histological subtypes.

What About Tanning Beds

Some people think that getting UV rays from tanning beds is a safe way to get a tan, but this isnt true.

Both IARC and NTP classify the use of UV-emitting tanning devices as carcinogenic to humans.

The US Food and Drug Administration , which refers to all UV lamps used for tanning as sunlamps, requires them to carry a label that states, Attention: This sunlamp product should not be used on persons under the age of 18 years.

The FDA also requires that user instructions and sales materials directed at consumers carry the following statements:

  • Contraindication: This product is contraindicated for use on persons under the age of 18 years.
  • Contraindication: This product must not be used if skin lesions or open wounds are present.
  • Warning: This product should not be used on individuals who have had skin cancer or have a family history of skin cancer.
  • Warning: Persons repeatedly exposed to UV radiation should be regularly evaluated for skin cancer.

The FDA has also proposed a new rule to ban the use of indoor tanning devices by anyone under age 18, to require tanning facilities to inform adult users about the health risks of indoor tanning, and to require a signed risk acknowledgment from all users. Some US states have already banned indoor tanning by all people younger than 18, while others have banned use by younger teens and children.

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How Is Skin Cancer Diagnosed And Treated

Skin cancers are usually diagnosed by taking a biopsy from the suspected area. In the case of melanoma, the doctor might also check if there has been any spread to the lymph nodes.

Treatment for both non-melanoma and melanoma skin cancer mainly consists of surgery. Surgery is usually curative for non-melanoma skin cancer and can be successful in melanoma skin cancer if found early enough. In the case of advanced melanoma skin cancer, additional treatment might be given, including drugs that target specific genetic changes.

If you suspect you might have skin cancer or have found any changes to your skin, please contact your GP as soon as possible to get it checked out.

What Is Uv Radiation

How many sunburns does it take to get skin cancer?

Ultraviolet radiation is a form of electromagnetic radiation that comes from the sun and man-made sources like tanning beds and welding torches.

Radiation is the emission of energy from any source. There are many types of radiation, ranging from very high-energy radiation like x-rays and gamma rays to very low-energy radiation like radio waves. UV rays are in the middle of this spectrum. They have more energy than visible light, but not as much as x-rays.

There are also different types of UV rays, based on how much energy they have. Higher-energy UV rays are a form of ionizing radiation. This means they have enough energy to remove an electron from an atom or molecule. Ionizing radiation can damage the DNA in cells, which in turn may lead to cancer. But even the highest-energy UV rays dont have enough energy to penetrate deeply into the body, so their main effect is on the skin.

UV radiation is divided into 3 main groups:

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What Is Happening To The Skin When You Get A Sunburn

There are two main types of UV rays: UVB and UVA.

UVB is responsible for the majority of sunburns, whilst UVA – although causes aging of the skin is much less responsible for sunburns. UVC is also present in sunlight and the most dangerous of all, fortunately, however, the ozone layer prevents it from reaching the earths surface.

When the skin is exposed to too much UV light, it burns and turns red. UV rays penetrate through the outer skin layers and down to the deeper layers where they damage or even kill cells. This damage incites the body to increase blood flow to the area to help heal the damage.

For those with light skin, this causes the skin to turn a pink or reddish colour that is typically tender to touch. If the burn is very bad, it can peel and blister. For people with darker skin tones, a sunburn will feel itchy, tender and irritated.

Staying In The Sun Safely

In order to maintain adequate levels of Vitamin D, it is recommended to stay in the sun 15-30 minutes per day without sunscreen. Start for a few minutes and work up to 30. If your staying out in the sun for longer wearing a hat and light clothes would be a good idea to protect the skin from burning. If you are planning to be in the hot sun for longer than 30 minutes, it is a good to have some form a sun protection. If using a sunscreen make sure to use a non-toxic one. I recommend reading the ingredients to see the bottle lists any ones mentioned above.

The EWGs first choice for sun protection is Zinc Oxide. It provides full spectrum protection of UVA and UVB rays. Sunscreens like Earthie Mamas Sunscreen , are the best choice in sunscreens. There are other reasons why you might want to switch over to a mineral based sunscreen, You can read more about that HERE.

Eating a healthy diet is also important to protect your skin from the sun. A diet high in antioxidant rich foods protects the skin from a sunburn as they act as a protective layer screening the sun from burning the skin. Antioxidants include berries, dark leafy greens, artichokes, green tea, dark chocolate and more.

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What Factors Increase Your Risk Of Skin Cancer

The more sun exposure you have had the more risk. Anyone can develop skin cancer but certain people are at a higher risk than others:

  • Paler skin types: Those with a fair complexion, who have blonde or red hair and many freckles are at an increased risk of developing skin cancer. This is because darker skin types have more melanin in their skin and therefore have more protection against the sun. Whereas pale skin types are much more likely to burn.
  • Childhood sun exposure: Too much sun exposure in childhood is a particular risk factor for developing cancer when you are older. Early exposures are of great concern because you essentially have a longer time to develop adverse effects from the sun.
  • A family history of skin cancer: If certain family members have developed skin cancer in the past, you are at a higher risk of developing it too.
  • Skin cancer in the past: People who have had any form of skin cancer in the past are at a higher risk of developing another form of the disease.
  • Age: As people get older their immune system becomes less able to prevent the development of skin cancer, so they are at a higher risk.

Why Does The Skin Turn Darker In The Sun

The Science of Tanning, Sun Burn and Skin Cancer

The skin uses sunlight to help in the production of vitamin D, which is important for normal bone function and formation, however, too much can be very harmful to us.

Our skin contains the pigment melanin which protects us from the ultraviolet rays found in sunlight. When these UV rays touch our skin, they stimulate certain hormones in the lower layers of the epidermis to produce melanin that subsequently causes the skin to darken.

Producing melanin is essentially the bodys method of protecting itself from the harmful effects of UV rays. Everyone produces it, however, in darker-skinned people the body produces more, meaning that they tan deeper than lighter-skinned people and are less likely to suffer sunburns.

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How Can I Help Prevent Sun Damage And Ultimately Skin Cancer

Nothing can completely undo sun damage, although the skin can sometimes repair itself. So, it’s never too late to begin protecting yourself from the sun. Your skin does change with age for example, you sweat less and your skin can take longer to heal, but you can delay these changes by limiting sun exposure.

Maintaining healthy skin

  • Stop smoking: People who smoke tend to have more wrinkles than nonsmokers of the same age, complexion, and history of sun exposure. The reason for this difference is unclear. It may be because smoking interferes with normal blood flow in the skin.
  • Apply sunscreen with a sun protection factor of 30 or greater 30 minutes before sun exposure and then every 2 to 3 hours thereafter. Reapply sooner if you get wet or perspire significantly.
  • Select cosmetic products and contact lenses that offer UV protection.
  • Wear sunglasses with total UV protection.
  • Avoid direct sun exposure as much as possible during peak UV radiation hours between 10 am and 4 pm.
  • Perform skin self-exams regularly to become familiar with existing growths and to notice any changes or new growths.
  • Relieve dry skin using a humidifier at home, bathing with soap less often , and using a moisturizing lotion.
  • Become a good role model and foster skin cancer prevention habits in your child. Eighty percent of a person’s lifetime sun exposure is acquired before age 18.

Understanding UV index

0-2: Low

3-5: Moderate

6-7: High

8-10: Very high

11 or higher : Extreme

Tanning Facts And Risks

Skin damage starts with your very first tan. Each time you tan, the damage builds up, creating more genetic mutations and greater risk.

Indoor tanning is dangerous: Tanning beds dont offer a safe alternative to sunlight they raise the risk for skin cancers. One study observing 63 women diagnosed with melanoma before age 30 found that 61 of them thats 97 percent used tanning beds.

Tanning damages all types of skin: Even if your skin type is not fair, tanning causes DNA injury that can lead to premature aging and skin cancer.

You can easily reduce your likelihood of developing skin cancer by practicing sun safety.

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What Else Should I Know

The intensity of the sun’s rays depends upon the time of year, as well as the altitude and latitude of your location. UV rays are strongest during summer. If you travel to a foreign country during its summer season, pack or buy the strongest sun protection you can find.

Extra protection is also a must near the equator, where the sun is strongest, and at high altitudes, where the air and cloud cover are thinner. Even during winter months, if your family goes skiing in the mountains, be sure to apply plenty of sunscreen UV rays reflect off both snow and water, increasing the risk of sunburn.

And be a good role model by always using sunscreen, wearing sunglasses, and limiting your time in the sun. You’ll reduce your risk of sun damage and teach your kids good sun sense.

Protect Yourself & Look Great

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  • Avoid tanning entirely: Its the best way to safeguard against unhealthy, unsightly skin damage.
  • Fake, dont bake: If you want a golden glow, consider sunless tanning products. There are many options that can give you a bronzed look, but you still need sun protection!
  • Tone, dont tan: Get radiant skin by doing aerobic or high-intensity exercises. Working out feels good and boosts your mood.
  • Hydrate, eat great: Drink lots of water and choose whole, unprocessed foods. Your skin will thank you!

Make healthy skin a way of life. Get the details here: Your Daily Sun Protection Guide

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Are There Any Other Health Issues Related To Uv Radiation

In addition to skin cancer, exposure to UV rays can cause other health problems:

  • UV rays, either from the sun or from artificial sources like tanning beds, can cause sunburn.
  • Exposure to UV rays can cause premature aging of the skin and signs of sun damage such as wrinkles, leathery skin, liver spots, actinic keratosis, and solar elastosis.
  • UV rays can also cause eye problems. They can cause the cornea to become inflamed or burned. They can also lead to the formation of cataracts and pterygium , both of which can impair vision.
  • Exposure to UV rays can also weaken the immune system, so that the body has a harder time fending off infections. This can lead to problems such as reactivation of herpes triggered by exposure to the sun or other sources of UV rays. It can also cause vaccines to be less effective.

Some people are more sensitive to the damaging effects of UV radiation. Some medications can also make you more sensitive to UV radiation, making you more likely to get sunburned. And certain medical conditions can be made worse by UV radiation.

Tanning Beds Increase Cancer Risk

According to the American Cancer Society, individuals who use tanning beds are more at risk of developing skin cancer than those who do not. Individuals who started indoor tanning before the age of thirty to thirty-five are most at risk of developing melanoma, which is considered to be one of the most dangerous forms of skin cancer. People who started using indoor tanning beds before the age of twenty-five have a greater risk of developing basal and squamous cell skin cancer as well.

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Types Of Skin Malignancies:

  • Melanoma the least common form of skin cancer, but responsible for more deaths per year than squamous cell and basal cell skin cancers combined. Melanoma is also more likely to spread and may be harder to control.
  • Nonmelanoma malignancies:
    • Squamous cell cancer the second-most common skin cancer. Its more aggressive and may require extensive surgery, depending on location and nerve involvement.
    • Basal cell cancer the most common form of skin cancer. It is rarely fatal but can be locally aggressive.

These skin malignancies are typically caused by ultraviolet radiation from exposure to the sun and tanning beds.

Increased Rate Of Aging Of The Skin

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Repeated exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet radiation eventually causes skin damage similar to the aging process. Patches of skin become thin and less elastic, and develop blemishes, sun freckles, and wrinkles. These changes may take many years of exposure but when they occur, the damage is irreversible.

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The Facts The Risks What You Can Do

Sunburn hurts you in more ways than one. The danger goes far beyond any short-term pain, redness and discomfort, because after the sunburn fades, lasting damage remains.

Sunburn accelerates skin aging and is a leading cause in the majority of cases of basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.

Sunburn is bad news, but the good news is that its totally preventable. And the best time to start is today.

Dont feel the burn!

YOUR RISKof developing potentially deadly melanomaDOUBLESwith a history of 5 or more sunburns.

How Can I Protect Myself From Skin Cancer

Have your doctor check your skin if you are concerned about a change.Your doctor may take a sample of your skin to check for cancer cells.

Ask your doctor about your risk of skin cancer:

  • Some skin conditions and certain medicines may make your skin more sensitive to damage from the sun.
  • Medicines or medical conditions that suppress the immune system may make you more likely to develop skin cancer.
  • Having scars or skin ulcers increases your risk.
  • Exposure to a high level of arsenic increases your risk.

Stay out of the sun as much as you can. Whenever possible, avoid exposure to the sun from10 a.m. to 4 p.m. If you work or play outside, then

  • Try to wear long sleeves, long pants, and a hat that shades your face, ears, and neck with a brim all around.
  • Use sunscreen with a label that says it is broad spectrum or is at least SPF 15 and can filter both UVA and UVB rays.
  • Wear sunglasses that filter UV to protect your eyes and the skin around your eyes.
  • If you are concerned about having a low level of vitamin D from not being in the sun, talk with your doctor about supplements.

Dont use tanning beds, tanning booths, or sunlamps.

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Are There Different Types Of Radiation In Sunlight

Yes. The types of radiation include:

  • visible light, which gives us the colours we see
  • infrared radiation which gives us the warmth we feel
  • ultraviolet radiation

Except in extreme situations, neither visible light nor infrared radiation from sunlight causes health problems. However, ultraviolet radiation can cause harmful effects to the skin.

There are three basic types of ultraviolet radiation:

  • UVA

Table 1 summarizes the general features of each type.

Table 1 Types of Ultraviolet Radiation and Their Features
Ultraviolet Radiation Type
Ultraviolet A radiation UVA, long-wave UV) -not filtered out in the atmosphere -passes through glass -once considered harmless but now believed harmful over the long term -levels remain relatively constant throughout the day
Ultraviolet B radiation -some filtered out in the atmosphere by the ozone layer -does not pass through glass -causes sunburn, tanning, wrinkling, aging of the skin and skin cancer -highest intensity at noontime
-filtered out in the atmosphere by the ozone layer before reaching earth -major artificial sources are germicidal lamps -burns the skin and causes skin cancer


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