Sunshine isn’t as dangerous as we think!
Well, almost daily I find different numbers and facts scientists give us about melanoma and risk of getting it. They scare us and then say nothing is serious and we should not worry much. But what is the truth?
There have been so many talks about the effect of sunshine to the development of skin cancer and melanoma in particular. And now we have just got the information that the influence of UV rays was over-emphasized.
According to the recent study sunbathing is a risk factor, but the number of moles on a person’s skin is the most important indicator of whether they will go on to develop melanoma.
Two genes were also identified that determine how many moles a person will have, and the risk of getting skin cancer. So, the research suggests that genes rather than sunshine cause the cancer.
The research was published in the journal Nature Genetics and seems to be on the way of reopening the debate over whether official health warnings about avoiding the sun are overstated and too general.
The scientists report that those who have more than 100 moles on their body, redheads and people with fair skin, are at higher risk to develop melanoma. Such people should be taught how to check their moles for changes in shape, size or color.
Tim Spector, professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London, and one of the study’s authors, said:
The number of moles you have is one of the strongest risk factors for melanoma –stronger even than sunshine. This paper shows that we found two important genes that control the number of moles you have.
Those genes also give you an extra risk of melanoma.’
Dr Veronique Bataille, a dermatologist at West Hertfordshire NHS Trust, added:
You often read that nearly all melanomas are caused by sunshine, which is not supported by the evidence.
Let’s keep sunshine in the picture because it does make you age and causes you wrinkles. But let’s move away from scaring people by saying they are going to die because they go in the sun.’
Sara Hiom, of Cancer Research UK, said:
Everyone should be aware of changes in their moles and report anything worrying to their GP.’
So, if this research is true you can go in the sun as much as you want but if you have too many moles, be very careful.
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