Could Sunscreen Play a Part In Preventing Skin Cancer?

It has been known that use of sunscreen to ensure the absence of melanoma is a common practice. However, the degree to which this proves effective is still a point of contention. It has been shown that the usage of sunscreen often can lower the chances of getting actinic keratosis, which in turn reduces the chance of getting squamous cell carcinoma. The proof for this, however, is a dichotomy.

  • The issue here is a lack of proper method: Melanoma can take years, even decades to manifest. Apart from just moles and an increase in sun burning, there are numerous other factors that play a role in being able to determine the chances of getting the disease. In fact, there are even some studies which have shown the opposite, that using sunscreen could lead to an even higher risk of melanoma than reducing it.
  • The long-term effect for someone who uses sunscreen may be utterly different from someone who doesn’t: In an editorial article written by a physician from the Erasmus Medical Center for the Journal of Clinical Oncology, the supposed effects as time passes might vary significantly between those who use sunscreen and those who don’t. This may be due to the difference in pigmentation of the skin, and the way users apply sunscreen as well.
  • Better economic and social status may also affect formation of skin cancer: Those who are members of the upper strata of society do things like indoor tanning and sunbathing, which may contribute to an increased absorption of Ultraviolet A, which may in turn increase the risk of getting cancer.

So, while sunscreen has proven to reduce the occurrence of skin cancer in some cases, it has only increased the possibility in others. More analysis is needed before a conclusion is drawn.

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