People Who Suffered From Skin Cancer Still Have Problems Using Sun Protection

First Posted: May 30, 2016 09:18 AM EDT

A study suggests that even though people are more careful being under the sun after having skin cancer. However, even having had a malignancy doesn't convince everybody to take basic precautions like wearing hats or using sunscreen.

Exposure to UVA and UVB rays is always harmful, an expert from Penn State Melanoma and Skin Cancer Center pointed out. The damage from the UV rays may be obvious right away in the form of a tan or sunburn. According to Dr. Colette Pameijer, a surgical oncologist and associate director of translational research, these damages can lead to a variety of problems, from wrinkles to skin cancer.

"My general sense is that people are much smarter about sun exposure," Dr. Pameijer said in a center news release. But selecting a sunscreen from a variety of lotions and sprays with various ingredients may be confusing, she said. Most sunscreens on the market offer a spectrum of protection from both UVA and UVB rays, although SPF values can range from 2 to 100, US News reported.

Dr. Pameijer explained that the SPF number shows how many more minutes the sunscreen will allow someone to stay in the sun without getting burned than if their skin isn't protected. "I think what a lot of people don't realize is that SPF is really a personal number," she said. "The amount of protection that I get from an SPF 30 is different than what someone else with a different skin type would get."

She also said that people should apply sunscreen with a minimum SPF of at least 30, but it may not be a good idea to pay more for sunscreen with SPFs higher than 55.

The Washington Post reported that researchers from another study analyzed data from about 760 adults who have had a history of skin cancer and more than 34,000 people without previous malignancies. Researchers of the study found out that people with a history of skin cancer were two times more likely to wear sunscreen and more than 50 percent as likely to wear hats and long sleeves as those who did not have a history of tumors.

However, another study's lead author Alexander Fischer of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine said that skin cancer wasn't tied to lower probability of sunburns, even after accounting for the fact that there are some people are more susceptible to sunburn than others.

The American Academy of Dermatology states that the numbers show suggests one in every 5 Americans will develop skin cancer, and an individual in the United States dies from melanoma every hour. About 44 percent of people with a history of these tumors said they frequently looked for shaded places outdoors, compared with the 27 percent of individuals who had no history of the disease.

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